Originally written for publishing on February 8, 2013.
Early turnovers and poor defensive execution doomed the Hornets’ men’s basketball team in a 70-55 loss at home to the Riverside Tigers, this past Friday night.
The Hornets fell behind early, allowing the Tigers to shoot 57 percent in the first half and couldn’t score enough to make the game close.
Hornet’s coach Andre Smith credited the loss to his team’s poor execution against the pressure of Riverside’s frontcourt, which had a noticeable height advantage on the Hornets.
“We were trying not to get blown out by 30,” Smith said. “They were bigger than us inside.”
The size of the Tigers held the Hornets to only 36 percent shooting for the game. At one point in the second half, Hornets forward Kessio Viegas had his shot blocked on back to back possessions.
Hornet guard Julian Caldwell had to briefly leave the game after being hit in the face early in the second half. He returned to the game and managed to rebound from a poor shooting half with a strong second period. Caldwell finished with 20 points, making 7-9 shot attempts after halftime.
“We could have played a lot better,” Caldwell said. “We were messing up on a lot of defensive assignments.”
The Tigers overwhelmed the Hornets with shots inside, routinely leading to layups or free throws in the second half. Forward Khalfani Williams fouled out in just 10 minutes as he struggled to keep the Tigers out of the paint.
The Hornets problems were compounded by a lack of outside shooting. They made only three of their 17 three-point attempts, by far their worst outing of the season.
Constant turnovers in the opening minutes forced Smith to burn two timeouts to try and calm down his team.
However, the team continued to struggle passing the ball as the Hornets finished the half with 11 turnovers and only six assists.
“Our team was not seeing open guys,” Smith said.
An 11-3 run gave the Tigers a double-digit lead that they never relinquished. Riverside opened the lead up to 23 in the second half and the Hornets couldn’t get within striking distance.
Next up for the Hornets is a home game against Orange Empire Conference leader Saddleback College this Wednesday. Tip-off is at 5:30 pm.