By Steve DiMiceli
By S.O.S. I'm not suggesting the that Dukes are in danger. I'm not suggesting their ship is sinking or their season is in any danger of collapsing. I'm also not refering to strength of schedule. In this case, I'm referring to a completely different acronym.
I didn't watch yesterday's game, but I've seen it at least a dozen times before in Ron Everhart's tenure. The team looks to be taking command of the game in the second half only to have poor execution or coaching down the stretch derail their chances of winning. I can't say which did them in yesterday but as usual it began to slip before the ten minute mark and the game was lost with a cold spell somewhere around five minutes remaining.
I don't know how to fix the problem or what the cause even is. Maybe it's the lack of experience caused by the turnover. Maybe it's the unselfish nature of this team where no player wants to take command. Maybe it's bad time out management or Ron overusing his best players in the second half. Maybe it's the cumulative effects of poor execution. I really don't know, but then again it's not my job to know.
I honestly thought this team would be better at closing games and they showed a certain amount of second half moxie early in the season against Wisconsin GB and Tennessee Tech. They were shooting FT's better and they came up with the big basket when they needed it in a few games. Just about every team is going to have a game like yesterday during their season even good closers. The problem is that this makes three games where they've failed to keep control against teams of comparable talent and we still have about a 1/3 of a season to play. They can't let that many games slip away and expect the program to move to the next level. Period.