Chris Horton stood as reporters questioned him after an 83-68 loss to SIU Edwardsville on Saturday, Feb. 15, with his head down the entire time. It was a game where nothing could go right for the Govs, leaving everyone in attendance at the Dunn Center with their heads hanging.
On offense, APSU (11-15, 5-7 OVC) shot just 41 percent from the floor and five of 18 from behind the three point arch. After holding a 53-50 lead with 10 minutes remaining, APSU made just three shots, if you take out the free throws, in the span where each attempt is important. This allowed the visitors to jumped out to a 10-point advantage with just over four minutes to go, and wouldn’t look back to take down the cold-shooting Govs.
“I thought we got some good looks, and I thought they were pretty good defensively,” head coach Dave Loos said. “But some nights the ball’s not going to go in the basket, so you better find another way. We don’t have another way.”
Loos also expressed his disappointment towards his team’s defensive effort as the Cougars controlled the tempo in the half court. SIU Edwardsville (10-16, 7-7 OVC) had just three players total double-digit points, but the depth proved to be the key as each Cougar that stepped on the court scored. By shooting 66.7 percent in the second half to go along with four three-pointers, the Govs couldn’t match. Rozell Nunn and Donivine Stewart led the Cougars with 17 points each.
APSU senior guard Travis Betran, who was lights out in the previous game against Eastern Illinois, was off from behind the arch going just one of eight. Knowing that the Cougars would guard him tighter, Betran said he had to find ways to get to the rim in order to score. Betran finished with 19 points on four of 16 shooting, while hitting all 10 of his free throws attempted.
Early in the contest, SIU Edwardsville made a point that they were going to double-team Will Triggs in the post when he touched the ball. The strategy limited the senior forward to just four points, which Horton said was a big factor as it put more pressure on the guards to score. Horton, who went just two of 10 shooting on Thursday, notched his twelfth double-double of the season with 10 points and 10 rebounds, while also blocking four shots.
But Horton expressed the constant mistake, including another poor game in terms of free throws, over the course of the game that haunted them.
“You’re never going to be perfect in a game. You’re going to have mistakes, but you’d rather have the mistakes earlier than late in the game,” Horton said. “We had turnovers, missed too many free throws, and I’ll take the blame on the free throws. It started with me when I started missing, and we just couldn’t hit any shots after that.”
The Govs will look to keep a grasp on reaching the conference tournament as they travel to Morehead State on Wednesday, Feb. 19 at 6 p.m.
Photo: Chris Horton (Meaghan Malone/The All State)