Southwestern Community College’s men’s basketball team played an “excellent” first half, but “little things” in the second half cost the team a win in a 59-53 loss to Ellsworth in league play here on Wednesday.
After taking a 28-17 lead into the halftime break, the Spartans came out in the second half and gave up an 8-0 run to the Panthers to start the half, allowing the lead to be cut to five points.
But, Southwestern recovered, and after a Jack Harrison basket in the post, stretched its lead back to nine points at 38-29.
Ellsworth’s Sean Dominick knocked down 3-pointers on back-to-back possessions, though, and Malcom Canada scored a layup and the foul, converting on the free throw to cut the lead to 40-38.
On the ensuing Southwestern possession, Marquealis Edwards was whistled for a charge on a similar play as the one Canada drew a blocking call on at the other end, leading to a technical on Southwestern coach Mike Holmes.
“We didn’t do some of the things we should have done, that we’re capable of doing,” Holmes said. “I cost us two points on that technical, so those things add up. It’d be one thing if we didn’t talk about those things, but we do. We talk about them all the time.”
Those “things” Holmes referenced included missed blockouts, lazy defense, missed free throws and turnovers against Ellsworth’s press.
“We’ve got to do those little things well,” Holmes said. “If we don’t, if we play very good instead of excellent, it’s not going to be good enough.”
Canada scored 17 of his game-high 20 points in the second half to lead Ellsworth. Devin Kastrup led Southwestern with 15 points.
Even with those lapses of not doing the little things, Southwestern still had a chance late in the ball game.
Trailing 54-52 inside of :45 left and the shot clock winding down on Ellsworth, Southwestern came up with a big defensive stop.
But, as the ball was going out of bounds, the Spartans saved it back in play, lofting it high in the air. Delby Halcomb went up to pull the ball down, but was beat out by a longer player from Ellsworth.
That second possession led to one free throw for Ellsworth.
“When we miss blockoffs, or we don’t do something that’s in our gameplan, those things we can prevent,” Holmes said. “And if we prevent those things, then something like (the second possession) doesn’t hurt you.”
Southwestern built up a lead as large as 12 points in the first half, playing efficient offense and limiting turnovers, while also playing solid defense.
“I thought we played a great first half. There, we were excellent,” Holmes said. “Defensively, we were in the right spots. I thought it was a clinic first half, defensively. And we didn’t break down tons in the second half — it was just little things.”
Southwestern, now 7-9 overall and 2-2 in league play, travels to NIACC on Saturday.
ELLSWORTH (59) — Malcom Canada 6 8-10 20, David Weathers 3 0-0 6, Sean Dominick 2 4-6 10, Jared Fulks 2 1-2 5, Abrie Anderson 0 2-2 2, David Dep 2 0-0 4, Tonnie Collier 4 3-3 12. Totals — 19 18-23 59. 3-point goals — 3 (Dominick 2, Collier 1). Team fouls — 14. Fouled out — None.
SOUTHWESTERN (53) — Devin Kastrup 5 3-3 15, Marquealis Edwards 5 0-2 10, Jared Theis 3 0-0 8, Marcus Littleton 2 2-4 6, Delby Halcomb 1 4-4 6, Jack Harrison 3 0-0 6, Patrick Wright 0 2-7 2. Totals — 19 11-23 53. 3-point goals — 4 (Kastrup 2, Theis 2). Team fouls — 22. Fouled out — None.
ECC — 17 59
SWCC — 28 53