Saint Francis continued its trend of playing well in the first game, then slumping in game two of its Northeast Conference back-to-backs.
Finding consistency for both games remains the goal for the Red Flash. And they had better find a way to play well in both games, because they’re already buried in the NEC standings.
Saint Francis won at Sacred Heart on Thursday, 76-58, using a 19-0 run to blow it open. But after winning by 18 in game one, the Red Flash lost game two Friday, 82-70, resulting in a 30-point swing between the two games.
Such huge swings are not uncommon in these back-to-back situations across the country, as we wrote about last week. Still, Saint Francis cannot afford to keep splitting these doubleheaders, and coach Rob Krimmel knows it.
“Our goal was to go 2-0,” Krimmel said after the game by Zoom from in Fairfield, Conn. “We got the first leg of that 2-0 last night … but the first half was what got us in trouble (tonight). I thought our effort wasn’t what it needed to be, especially on the glass, and our defensive rotations were a little bit slower.”
Saint Francis played well at LIU in its first back-to-back, only to lose a tough one, 78-75. The Flash got pounded in the second game, 71-58.
They beat Bryant in the first game, 89-82, only to lose the second, 72-63.
Krimmel said he and his staff are still trying to figure out the dropoffs in the second games.
“Part of it is we have their attention all week and you’re gonna execute some things, and you’ve got kids that want to do well. They’re easy to coach. These kids are so easy to coach,” Krimmel said. “I think it just comes down to understanding that you’ve got to turn it around (in the second game).
“Some of these young guys — and even some of the older guys who have never experienced it — we’ve got to do a better job of turning it around and playing with that sense of urgency for 40 minutes in the second game.”
Saint Francis dropped to 2-5 in the NEC and is in next-to-last-place. Only the top four teams in the league make the postseason tournament, so the Flash have a lot of work to do to make the postseason.
They can’t do that by continuing to split the back-to-backs.
“Winning a college basketball game is hard,” Krimmel said. “That’s what they’ve got to understand is every time we have an opportunity to tip this up for 40 minutes, we’ve got to play every game with a sense of urgency.”
Saint Francis has some help with the schedule coming up, getting to play its next four games at home — two back-to-backs against Fairleigh Dickinson and Central Connecticut State. Those are two of the bottom four teams in the NEC, so the Flash absolutely must come out of this stretch at least 3-1, if not 4-0.
Ramiir Dixon-Conover led SFU with 18 points, while Maxwell Land had 12, Ronell Giles Jr. 11 and Mark Flagg 10. The Flash once again played without injured starting forward Myles Thompson, who also missed the first game of the series that SFU won.
Aaron Clarke led Sacred Heart with 23 points, and Tyler Thomas had 19.