Expectations were high for the Horned Frogs going into the second half of conference play. Unfortunately those high hopes deflated quickly as the Frogs (10-11, 2-7) lost to the Utah Utes (8-14, 3-6), 70-65.
The Frogs have now lost seven games in a row, all in conference play.
“We wanted to come out and get a victory,” Brent Hackett, junior guard, said. “We just didn’t reach our level. Now we are starting off 0-1 in the second half.”
Even though the Frogs haven’t won a game since Jan. 6, head coach Neil Dougherty still likes the way his team is playing.
“It would be counterproductive for me to whip my players any harder,” Dougherty said. “Our problem is we can’t finish.”
Dougherty compared the Frogs to students preparing for an exam.
“We are like students who know all the questions to a test,” Dougherty said. “We just don’t answer the last 10 questions on purpose.”
The biggest problem for the Horned Frogs came at the free throw line. The Frogs made just 13 of their 24 free throw attempts.
“I don’t need to look any further for what we are going to work on at practice next week,” Dougherty said.
One of the bright parts of the game came from the play of Hackett. He scored 22 points in the game, a career high. He also made six of the nine three-point shots he attempted.
“Brent had a great game,” Dougherty said. “He made shot after shot when we needed him to.”
Even though he had a solid game, Hackett was disappointed with the loss.
“You kind of get down,” Hackett said. “But you have got to keep fighting.”
Hackett already knows what he is going to do to improve his game for the rest of the season.
“I am going to get my defensive intensity up,” Hackett said.
Dougherty stressed the fact that this team can still have success in the second half of conference play.
“We can string some good basketball together,” Dougherty said. “We are going to continue to work harder and we are going to wind up winning some games.”
Dougherty is not worried about the confidence level of his team.
“I know this team still has heart,” Dougherty said. “One night of good play can be an injection of confidence.”
Three of the next four games for the Frogs will be on the road and Dougherty knows how difficult they will be.
“Every game in conference is tough,” Dougherty said. “The way this conference keeps growing all the games in this conference will be tough.”
The Frogs will try to end their season-long seven-game losing streak when they visit the UNLV Rebels Wednesday at 9 pm.
The Rebels defeated TCU in Ft. Worth Jan. 20, 75-66.