The Jackrabbits men basketball team has gotten into a bad habit. They were given the opportunity to win a Summit League road game but unable to close the deal against the University of Missouri Kansas City Kangaroos and ended up in the cellar of Summit League with a 78-73 loss at Kemper Arena in Kansas City, Mo.
“It’s ridiculous,” said the longest tenure SDSU head coach Scott Nagy. “I’m not going to blame us missing baskets on voodoo, snake bit, bad luck or whatever. It makes me very, very sad.”
SDSU led the Kangaroos by four points with a little more than 2 minutes and 20 seconds left. A Michael Loney missed lay-up along with UMKC’s ability to make every free throw and senior Tim Blackwell scoring clutch 3-pointers in the closing seconds improved UMKC’s record to 9-18 overall and 4-10 in the Summit League.
SDSU, 8-18 and 3-11 in conference, was led by a career high 21 points from sophomore Garrett Callahan and with freshmen Clint Sargent’s 19 points for the Jacks. Kai Williams recorded a double double with 10 points and 10 rebounds.
SDSU’s Canadian native Williams took responsibly for the loss by claiming that two three-points that Blackwell made in the closing seconds was the difference in the game. Callahan took a more holistic team approach.
“It’s different things every night,” said Sioux City, Iowa native Sargent. “We’re not very consistent right now.”
UMKC senior Blackwell summed up what went through his mind. “It was my time to step up,” he said. “The game was getting tight, and that’s what seniors do. I hold myself to that standard. It’s what I’m supposed to do. I came through for my team tonight.”
SDSU is left to wonder “what if” out loud to themselves. The Jacks failed do what last year’s team (SDSU’s worst team record ever at 6-24) did: win in Kansas City.
After making a strong first half comeback and starting the second half with a run and continuing a 13-0 run, Nagy was pleased with his team’s efforts.
“They were able to come back, and I was proud that they came back on a good team,” he said.
SDSU will end the season with three home games; North Dakota State will be up next for the Jacks on Feb. 22, 7 p.m. They close the 2007-2008 season by competing against first place Oral Roberts on Feb. 28, 7 p.m. and second to last place in the Summit Centenary College, Mar. 1 at 7:30 p.m.