Men lose winning record

Men lose winning record

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 at Daniel-Meyer Coliseum on Saturday.

The Frogs have now lost seven games in a row (all in conference play) making them the cellar dwellers for the second half of Mountain West competition.

“We wanted to come out and get a victory,” junior guard Brent Hackett 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 when explaining their inability to close the door on opponents.

“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 continued their free-throw shooting woes by hitting just 13 of their 24 attempts, which was good for 54 percent.

“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 spots of the game was Hackett. He had a career night as he went for 22 points, while connecting on six of nine three-point attempts.

“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 said he was disappointed with the loss.

“You kind of get down,” Hackett said. “But you have got to keep fighting.”

Hackett said he wants to improve and increase his level of defensive intensity as the team looks toward the rest of the season.

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.