For the Rowan men’s basketball team, the holidays couldn’t arrive any sooner.
The team has now dropped six consecutive games since a .500 start to the season. After losing back-to-back games to New Jersey Athletic Conference opponents by two points or less, followed then by a double-digit defeat to The College of New Jersey, Rowan (2-8, 0-4 NJAC) could really use a break from action.
Although their record doesn’t show it, a lot of things have gone right for the Profs through their first ten games. But much has gone wrong, too, and as head coach Joe Cassidy points out, these mistakes occur all too often in crunch time.
“We have to finish the game,” Cassidy said. “Other than the Stockton and La Salle games, we’ve had the lead in the last five minutes of every game, and we have to finish our plays. So that’s what we’re going to work on moving forward in practice, finishing our layups and our shots, and then we have to translate that into finishing the game.”
One of Cassidy’s mantras all season has been ball movement. He has said that the offense flows best when his guys move the ball well. However, according to Cassidy, that hasn’t been the case in recent, late-game scenarios.
“We’ve been killing ourselves with turnovers down the stretch,” Cassidy said. “We had five turnovers in the last six minutes against Jersey City, and you can’t turn the ball over like that against a good team, which they certainly were. “
NJAC foe New Jersey City University (5-2, 3-0) fought back from a 13-point deficit against Rowan last Saturday and trailed until late in the fourth quarter. Junior forward Shawn Wilson had 28 points in the contest, which was the top single-game scoring performance of the season for the Profs.
“Some people would probably be happy about it because it’s 28 points, but it’s 28 points and a loss,” Wilson said. “So I wasn’t too satisfied, and even though we played hard I know the team wasn’t satisfied either.”
Wilson agrees that turnovers have been costly for the Profs in the last few minutes of some recent games, but also believes the team gets too comfortable when they establish a lead.
“I would just say we have to focus on defense more,” Wilson said. “And we have to really crack down when it gets to be a crunch-time situation.”
The brown and gold will face NJAC-leading Ramapo (6-2, 3-0) at home on Saturday, and will have 10 days off to enjoy the holidays with their families before practice resumes. When the team returns in 2016, Cassidy hopes they will be ready to shift gears and get some much-needed wins on the board.
If not, there could be some changes coming to this Profs squad, not just in the lineup but also in their philosophy.
“We’ll see how things go this week and then we’ll have to make some decisions based off of what happens,” Cassidy said.
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