Men's face Kentucky after 2012 one win, one lose

Roberto Campos

Going into the new year the USI men’s basketball team looked strong and remained undefeated, but during their first game of 2012 suffered a loss to 1–10 Missouri University of Science & Technology (S&T) at home.

“The loss affected us a great deal,” senior forward Isaac McClure said. “We acknowledged that we really shouldn’t have lost the game and the mistakes we had made, but at the end of the day it’s a loss and you can’t dwell on it.”

“You can’t forget about the loss, but you have to move on from it,” junior guard Melvyn Little said. “Coach was a little disappointed in us, we didn’t play as well as we were supposed to. So we just came back the next day and practiced real hard to prepare for our next game.”

Recovering from their loss, the men’s basketball team defeated Drury University, who eliminated USI from the NCAA Division II tournament last year, Saturday at home 76-64. That win improved the Eagles record to 11-1.

“Against S&T we let some things slip defensively,” men’s basketball head coach Rodney Watson said. “The Drury game is kind of an indicator of how we’ve recovered since our loss. We came out and we played with a resiliency, and we paid attention to playing better team defense. We shot the ball better.”

“Regardless if we’re winning or losing we have to pay attention to ourselves so we don’t let ourselves slip,” Watson said. “As competitors you want to win every contest, but as a true competitor you want to play your best. I think it maybe to the fact that if we don’t play our best defense or if we don’t get our best shots then the outcome isn’t going to be what we like as a competitor.”

With the Eagles match up with ranked No. 2 Kentucky Wesleyan College (KWC) on the horizon, the men’s team will have to focus on their games with William Jewell College and Rockhurst University before they meet with conference rivals.

“KWC is just one more game. Every game has the each same significance,” Watson said. “You have 18 conference games. So every one of those games is important. You don’t get value points because you’re playing a rival. So you can’t look forward to any game. KWC will just be another contest where you play a great opponent in this league.”

“We’re not going to take anybody lightly, we’re going to play everybody the same, with good defense, taking good shots and listen what coach has to tell us,” Little said. “When we do play KWC we are going to come out and play them like we’ve been playing everyone else: playing hard, playing smart and playing tough.”

The next chance to catch the USI men’s basketball team in action will be at 7:30 p.m. Monday in the Physical Activities Center against KWC.

“S&T wasn’t the first time we’ve lost a game. Hopefully it’s the last time, but if we lose in the future wont shock us,” McClure said. “We win as a team and we lose as a team, but as long as we’re doing it together we have the greatest chance of winning.”