Jacks fall to Jaguars in second-half letdown

Travis Kriens

Travis Kriens

Just when things looked like they were turning around, the SDSU men’s basketball team reverted back to their old ways: losing on the road in the Summit League.

Despite coming back from a 10-point deficit in the first half and taking a nine-point lead with 13:53 left in the second half, the Jacks fell to IUPUI 71-63 on Feb. 5.

From that point on, SDSU would only make four field goals the rest of the game, three of them being 3-pointers.

“The last 10 minutes, IUPUI turned up the heat, and our kids melted,” said head coach Scott Nagy. “We just made mistake after mistake after mistake. When we go back and watch the film, they won’t believe it. We practiced well in term of our effort, but in terms of our end-of-the game situations, our kids have lost focus and have not done a good job, and it shows up on the floor.”

A tip-in for IUPUI’s Robert Glenn with less than seven minutes left gave the Jaguars the lead for good. Glenn led all players with 21 points, 17 in the second half, and added six rebounds in 27 minutes of play.

While Glenn played a large part in the IUPUI victory, Nagy says that the team’s defense did the Jacks no favors.

“We certainly helped him with our poor defense. He had too many easy shots. At least make him work for his shot and not give him layups.”

Of the nine shots that Glenn made, four were dunks, four were layups and one was a tip-in.

Despite being held scoreless in the first half, junior forward Kai Williams scored 15 points and had a game-high nine rebounds.

“The only guy that I thought that played with composure was Kai,” said Nagy. “The rest of our guys looked very fragile. This is February when the games become more important. We showed tonight that we haven’t been in that situation very much.”

On the other end of the spectrum, Garrett Callahan scored all nine of his points in the first half on three 3-pointers.

“For whatever reason, Garrett just had no energy the whole night,” said Nagy. “When we come on the road, we need him to be an energetic guy for us, and he was not. I don’t like to bash our players, but all of our guys, besides Kai, didn’t play with the intensity that they needed to tonight. They are better players than they showed tonight.”

Anthony Cordova also finished with 15 points, including 7-of-9 on free throws, while senior guard Mackenzie Casey came off the bench to contribute seven points in only 11 minutes.

“That is an amazing thing because he has hardly played the last two or three weeks at all,” said Nagy concerning Casey’s performance. “For him to come in a play with that kind of confidence just shows what type of kid he is.”

Now with another lost opportunity to win their first Summit League road game, the 14-straight conference road losses are starting to take a toll on the team.

“I am sick of it. I really am,” said Nagy. “I am sick of losing on the road and showing our lack of toughness, because that is what it takes to win on the road. It has just got to change. In order for our program to move forward, it has to change.”