For the second night in a row, the Mad Ants went down to the wire, and the wire clotheslined them.
This time they fell 96-92 to the Bakersfield Jam, which is 3-12 on the season primarily because 11 of its first 15 games have been played on the road. The Jam took command of a seesaw game with an 8-0 run midway through the fourth quarter, then hit 5-of-6 from the line in the last 41 seconds to secure the victory.
A couple of observations:
* Oliver Lafayette continues to rack up big assist numbers at point guard. After dishing for 14 and scoring 30 points in the 140-137 triple overtime loss at Iowa Tuesday, he had 10 more assists tonight.
Unfortunately, he also had five turnovers, so of course Ants coach Joey Meyer focused on that aspect first.
"He made some mental errors tonight, had a couple of turnovers that I think he's got to eliminate from his game," Meyer said. "But his assist total is rising. with each game."
* Bakersfield's defensive strategy was clearly designed to trap the Ants guards and force them farther out on the floor than they're used to being, and it worked at least to an extent.
"Give them credit for playing hard," Meyer said. "We had some silly turnovers, I thought. It gave them easy baskets and gave them confidence. They felt better about themselves, and then shots go down a little easier when you feel that way."
RON HOWARD: Obviously it was tough, especially the eight-hour bus ride. That would be tough on anybody. But we were still in the game. We're still supposed to win the game. A couple calls didn't go our way. That's it.
ROB KURZ: We're all grown men. Energy, you should play with energy every night. We're lucky enough to play basketball for a living, you can't make excuses. We have nobody to blame but ourselves.
yeah, honestly I thought it was good, came up a little bit short. obviously it was a bad play. We've to find ways to execute. But really to be honest with you, we should have been in a better position at the end of the game. We should have closed it out. We're a good team, we have to find ways to close those close ones out.
JOEY MEYER: it wasn't exactly a pretty game. Obviously, I told our guys before the game we don't have any excuses tonight. We didn't play with a lot of energy tonight. I was honestly groping for some combinations. We just didn't play with the type of energy it takes to win at this level.
But again it still came down. So we find a way to hang in there. We come down to the final play, the final call, the blockcharge. Some way we found a way to do it. But obviously it was not a very good performance.
You can make all kinds of excuses. But in the end they're not gonna put a little asterisk at the end of it. They're just gonna put a nice little 'L' at the end instead of a 'W'.