Looking at the key reason why the varsity basketball Fighting Scots surrendered a 61-36 loss to Terry Sanford Tuesday night, one statistic in particular stands out from the pack.
Though turnovers have been a recurring issue for the Scots thus far into their winless season, the team managed to stay below 20 against the Bulldogs. The team had just eight turnovers in the final two quarters.
However, four of those came on consecutive possessions during the most crucial stretch of the fourth quarter, which gave Terry Sanford several easy looks at the basket which they were successful at converting all night long. Suddenly a manageable deficit became a comfortable cushion for the Bulldogs, and the game was out of reach in the blink of an eye for the Scots.
These momentary lapses have been critical in nearly all of Scotland’s losses throughout the 2012-13 season.
“We were back in the game at the start of the fourth quarter,” said Scotland coach Jackie Amos after the loss. “I told them to just take your time and not try to get it all back at once. If we try to force something, we get erratic and out of control, and that’s what exactly what happened.”
Scotland had perhaps their biggest chance to pounce on the Bulldogs at the start of the first quarter. Terry Sanford opened the quarter by missing their first seven shots, and the Scots gained a brief lead after baskets from forward Artemis Robinson and center Aly Kaba.
Kaba finished the game with a team-high nine rebounds to go along with his six points.
But a series of traveling calls would stop the Scots dead in their tracks on several offensive possessions, as the team attempted to get overly aggressive in attacking the basket. And those two baskets would be the only points Scotland would score in the quarter.
Meanwhile Terry Sanford got rolling soon after their cold start, hitting three consecutive three-pointers midway through the first quarter en route to finishing the quarter with a 19-4 lead.
Scotland’s lone bright spot in the first half was sophomore guard Robert McKoy, who scored all five of his points in the second quarter. With 3:30 remaining, McKoy made arguably the offensive play of the game for Scotland when he netted an acrobatic layup with several Terry Sanford defenders in his face to earn the three-point-play opportunity, which he successfully converted.
At the end of two quarters, Scotland found themselves down 33-15.
In the third quarter, the combination of Robinson and point-forward Tra’Shawn Gregory kept Scotland from falling too far behind the Bulldogs. After notching two big blocks on Terry Sanford point guard Darryl Bonner, Gregory created a fast-break opportunity by finding Robinson for an easy transition layup. Shortly thereafter, Gregory again found Robinson, this time by attacking the basket and kicking the ball out to the awaiting Robinson who drained an uncontested three-pointer.
When it was all said and done, Robinson scored all 10 of Scotland’s third quarter points, which gave him a team-high 12 points in the game.
Yet, in the fourth quarter, Scotland let the game slip away on a series of turnovers and sluggish offensive plays, and the result was yet another notch in the loss column.
Scotland moves to 0-13 on the season.