The feeling was tangible. When the buzzer sounded, everyone from RIT — fans, players and coaches — were left disappointed. It was a game that started out hard-fought, each team battling for all the glory. Players tried to pressure each other by scrambling for loose balls, running to out-hustle their opponent, and leaping for every rebound. But in the end, it was SUNY Oswego (4-1) who pulled away 79-61 in a non-conference match-up and put RIT at 1-3 for the season.
|RIT’s senior guard, Nate Korinchak #2, tries to penetrate the SUNY Oswego defense. RIT Tigers fell 79-61.
The game was a tale of two halves. The first was a well-executed offensive performance by RIT, leading by as many as six and taking a 13-7 run to close out the first. The second, however, was a different story. RIT shot only 21.9 percent from the field and allowed Oswego to take a 21-9 run and expand their lead by as much as 13.
So what happened? To put it simply, the offense was out of sync. The team that went 5-for-9 from the three-point arc in the first half then connected twice out of 16 attempts from the great beyond in the second. The Tigers overall field goal percentage for the entire game was decidedly low at 38 percent. They also finished the game being out-rebounded 39-33. One bright spot for RIT was the free throws they made. RIT shot 5-of-8 from the line in the first half and 11-of-15 in the second for an overall field goal percentage of 69.
It was the kind of second-half showing that left Head Coach Bob McVean frustrated: “I felt, in the first half, we got the ball where we wanted. In the second half, we gave up a lot of shots. When we pressured, that opened up the floor, and they got a lot of easy shots.” Oswego shot 56 percent overall for the game, while shooting 72 percent in the second half. Lakers forward Conor Monaghan was the star player for the Lakers, with 19 points overall and 11 in the first half. Nonetheless, this was a veteran team the Tigers took on.
What else could go wrong for the Tigers? How about constant foul trouble? McVean recalled having four players with two fouls in the first half. Consequently, RIT had to pull back and play more conservatively, more timidly. “Our foul trouble took away a lot of aggressiveness in the first half,” McVean explained.
But that’s not to say any of the players didn’t play well. Third year Engineering major Brendan Harder led RIT with 19 points and nine rebounds on 6-of-12 shooting, with fourth year Management Information Systems major Anthony Terry adding 18 points. Marcus Lowe, a third year Business Management major, also added quality minutes for RIT, as he was probably the most intense performer on the court with 8 points, five rebounds and five assists. “I thought Harder and Terry played well, and Lowe did a good job handling the team,” said McVean.
While disappointed with the team’s performance, McVean looks forward to the future. “For the next game, we’ll have to work on our offense; we’re not fluent with what we’re doing.” Sharing the same dissatisfaction as McVean, Harder also recognized the need for more consistent offense. “We came out good in the first half, but blew it in the second. We have to work on our second-half performance and start knocking down some shots,” said Harder.
The next time you can catch the Tigers in action is on Dec. 18 for the consolation/championship.