The Kingsmen were on the wrong side of a game-winning shot when they fell to Bethesda University by a score of 56-55.
The Bethesda forward, Ralph Monday, knocked down a mid-range jump shot with 1.4 seconds left on the clock to give them their first lead of the second half since the 16:24 mark. Missed free throws by the Kingsmen gave Bethesda the opportunity to win the game with time winding down.
The largest lead CLU had during the game was nine, following a jump shot made by junior guard Collin Knudsen.
However, the Kingsmen never put the game away, letting Bethesda hang around until the very end when they stole a victory away from Cal Lutheran.
What made the loss sting even more for the Kingsmen was the fact that Bethesda only traveled six players to the game. This handicap for the opponent was one that CLU was unable to take advantage of.
“I didn’t think anything worked well for us tonight,” said junior forward Jeremy Sulker-Hall. “There were times when we were actually able to run our offense and get good looks. Other than that we were really impatient. We’re a young basketball team right now.”
Sulker-Hall led the team in blocks that night, which contributed to the good team defense. The offense also showed glimpses of hope during the game, according to the leading scorer of the night, Michael Palmer.
“When we slowed the ball down, we were able to work it around and get good looks at the basket and take easier shots,” said Palmer.
Those looks weren’t consistent enough on offense to put the game away.
Nonetheless, this was their second straight game that went down to the wire. These close ball games will only help the Kingsmen play when they find themselves in these types of situations again once SCIAC play begins.
“Having these close games gives us some good experience early on in the season. We can learn from the situations we’re in and hopefully we can pull out more close games later on in the season,” said Knudsen.
Knudsen, a key contributor on defense, sees that as one of the teams’ strengths so far this season. But he does note that they still have a way to go.
“I think early on in the season our defense has really been solid,” said Knudsen.
“We have a few struggles here and there, but we’re a young team and can learn from those mistakes. I think we need to improve with our aggressiveness in the game. We’re too passive and need to bring the energy night-in and night-out.”
Sulker-Hall shares the same sentiment as his teammate.
“Our offense is what needs improvement. We’re not as smooth in our offense as we are in practice and we’re way too structured. We’re not looking for our own shots. We’re being robots on the court. So if we can run the offense efficiently and play like the basketball players we are, then we’ll be fine,” said Sulker-Hall.
These early-season games, including the Surf’s Up Classic in Hawaii they concluded this past weekend, will offer the Kingsmen what they need to work out the kinks in their offense as well as build their team chemistry.
Published Nov. 28, 2012