The Delaware Blue Coats have had trouble finding their footing post-All-Star break, dropping their second straight game to the Motor City Cruise with a final score of 111-107 on Friday, Feb. 24.
“It’s [because of] our attention to detail,” Charlie Brown Jr. said. “Coach [Head Coach Coby Karl] always preaches ‘keep it simple, keep it organized.’ We came out rushed, we came out fast.”
The performance that the Coats displayed in the first quarter did not line up with the end result. In the opening frame, the Coats outscored the Cruise 33-20 while shooting 52% from the field and just about 43% from three-point range. For comparison, Delaware ended the game shooting just about 46% from the field and just over 26% from deep.
Louis King, who scored 16 points on 50% shooting, spoke about what went wrong after the first.
“We got relaxed in transition,” King said. “We were making shots in the frontcourt, we just couldn’t get out in transition and make easy baskets for ourselves.”
Defensively, the Coats had trouble stopping the Cruise’s three-ball. Although Motor City shot just 38.5% as a team from long range, they made some very timely shots to propel their second-quarter comeback, as well as helping them ice the game late in the fourth quarter.
“They made some tough shots down the stretch,” Brown Jr. said. “We played unorganized, and it led to them getting steals and breakaways. We’re good, we just gotta keep it rolling and stay motivated.”
Specifically, Jared Rhoden had a solid performance for the Cruise. The rookie out of Seton Hall displayed his shooting chops all night long, scoring 31 points on 12-17 shooting from the field and 5-7 from deep. Brown Jr. dished out his take on Rhoden’s performance.
“Nothing special,” Brown Jr. said. “He’s a great player, he’s gonna make great plays. He took advantage of what he had and got it done.”
King also shared his thoughts about the team’s defensive performance in comparison to Wednesday’s game against the Cruise in which they also dropped.
“We were more engaged, more locked in,” King said. “We still gotta finish down the stretch, but we’re getting better. We lost a couple of good pieces, but we’re just trying to follow through and get back to routine.”
With under two minutes to go in the fourth quarter, King hit a big three-pointer that would’ve kept the Coats within one possession. It was all for naught, however, as the play was blown dead due to an off-ball offensive foul.
The crowd, as well as Blue Coats’ players and coaches, were visibly upset with the call.
“It’s a part of the game,” King said. “I knew they were gonna call that probably five minutes before that shot even took place, but it’s the way the game goes.”
Although the bucket was nullified, it was not Delaware’s last chance to win the game. Down two points with under a minute to go, the Blue Coats allowed Kyler Edwards of the Cruise to cut to the basket untouched for an easy dunk on the inbound pass which put them back up two possessions.
Shortly after, the Coats were down just two points once again with the shot clock unplugged, only to turn it over on the inbound pass and allow the Cruise to seal the win.
“Miscommunication on both sides of the ball,” King said. “We were trying to run a play for Jaden [Springer] coming out of the corner, I was passing it to Justin [Smith] so that he could hand it off, but it’s how the game goes. We’re probably going to go to practice and run the play over and over until we get it.”
Although Motor City got the best of Delaware this week, both Brown Jr. and King believe there is no cause for concern.
“We just gotta regroup,” Brown Jr. said. “Be level-headed, stay calm, throughout the storm. We’re a good team; great players, great coaches. We’re gonna get it done.”
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