There's an old basketball adage that's as old as Dr. Naismith's decision to first hang up the ol' peach basket:
You've got to hit your free throws.
While there's no doubt quite a bit more than merely the Hawks' missed free throws that could be broken down, analyzed, and discussed in the context of this disappointing loss, there's also no doubt that going 20 for 35 at the free throw stripe is never going to help your cause. Whether it's one miss or 15, those lost chances always seem to find a way to come back to bite a team's collective butt.
The previous two games broadcast live here on The Network, this afternoon's against LaSalle and last week's game against North Kingstown, were easily our most viewed to date. There seemed to be a good deal of lead-up to the game out in the Twittersphere, and Johnathan Feeny, Cam Brennan, and Stone Freeman did their usual thorough job.
The entire game can be seen here.
Video streaming by Ustream
Much like that game against the Skippers, the Hawks came out of the gate fast, opening up an early 14-7 lead and seeming to have some control of the game's tempo. It appeared, however, that once the Rams found their footing, they began to take control the offensive boards, continually found a way into and through the Hawks' defense, and began to ramp up their fast break. By halftime, the Rams had an eight-point lead, 43-35.
The second half of the game played out in much the same manner that the second part of the first half had, the Rams controlling the tempo and the Hawks struggling to make up ground. It seemed as though the Hawks were constantly fighting an uphill battle against a well-entrenched opponent, an opponent who was playing very well. Although the Hawks once closed the gap to four, they mostly struggled throughout the second half to cut the lead below six or eight points.
Matt Duffie (18 points) and EJ Nygren (16) did their best to keep the Hawks within striking distance during the second half, but their efforts ultimately came up short. Some of their highlights can be seen here:
In addition to having to take the bitter taste of the loss to our archrival, this loss will also hurt when it comes time for the state playoff selection process. The losses to North Kingstown and LaSalle won't help the Hawks' hopes for a high seed in the tournament.
The Hawks will be in action next on Tuesday night, when they travel to Coventry for a re-match with the Oakers, another quality opponent. Our guys recently defeated Coventry, 61-49, and could use this win for both their divisional and state tournament prospects.