Trailblazer offense sputters as No. 8 Vincennes drops Top-10 matchup - Athletics

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Trailblazer offense sputters as No. 8 Vincennes drops Top-10 matchup

VINCENNES, Ind. – In what is likely the NJCAA Game of the Week, the No. 8 Vincennes University Trailblazers played host to No. 6 John A. Logan.

In a defensive battle that saw neither team shoot above 37-percent from the floor, Vincennes fell by the score of 53-41.

The game lived up to the hype in the early going, with both teams traded baskets. The lead changed hands a few times in the early part of the game before John A. Logan managed to build a seven-point lead near the 10-minute mark.

The Trailblazers stood their ground though and kept the Volunteer lead to just five, heading into the break.

Logan came out of the locker room on a mission in the second half, putting some distance between the two team as the Volunteers began the half on an 11-0 scoring run.

The Volunteers would grow their lead to as many as 22 in the latter stages of the matchup, before the Trailblazer offense final found some footing and attempted a late game comeback.

But the late scoring burst wasn’t enough as the No. 8 Vincennes University Trailblazers came up on the wrong end of the scoreboard for the first time on their home floor this season.

“This game isn’t complicated,” VU Hall of Fame coach Todd Franklin said. “On the offensive end it’s spacing, getting the ball moving, getting the right shot selection. Tonight, we tried to get their big guy moving and we’ve got to know where that good shot is going to be, which in this game had to be pull up jump shots. We’ve averaged 80 to 90 points for forever, we’re working the same thought processes, the same things and tweaking some things depending on who we’re playing.”

“We tried to get really simple in the second half when offensively we were frozen, then we made some dumb error on defense and gave up some points. Defensively we were good, obviously we held Logan to 53 points and we held them all night. We were getting stops all night, I thought we were competitive on the defensive glass. They had a couple buckets at the end of the shot clock, where we had a good possession but just didn’t finish it.”

“We didn’t give up transition buckets, we didn’t let McKinney get to the rim, we didn’t let their big guys dominate us, I thought everything we tried to do out there was working, so half the game was fine. But we were just embarrassingly bad on offense but there was no where to go. Nobody really wanted to step up and take the reigns and do the things that needed to be done. This game would have been won by us in the past.”

Sophomore Christian Wells led the Trailblazers offense with 12 points and seven rebounds off the bend. Wells also dished out two assists.

Fellow sophomore DJ Brewton joined Wells as the only two VU players in double figures and only two of three for the entire game, with 10 points and three rebounds.

Sophomore Deatrick Pashell got the start for VU as the 6 foot 10 big man with Logan’s 7 foot 3 center Jamarion Sharp.

Pashell held his own on the night, finishing with six points, three rebounds and a steal.

“Until these guys step up and get in the gym and work hard enough and get confident enough and put in the time, it’s hard to win when you’re shooting 30-percent. It’s hard to win at Lincoln Trail when we had every opportunity to win that game, we shot 37-percent and you’re not going to do it if you don’t have confidence and focus on the game plan and we had a combination of those two things.”

“When you’re battling against a 7-3 guy that just cuts the rim off, there are certain things that you’re going to have to take advantage of and there’s certain things that until you take advantage of your not going to get and that’s exactly what happened. We weren’t going to get a layup. I thought Pashell hit the jumpers with some of the action we had made him pay a little bit but it’s across the board.”

“We’ll run a ball screen and the guy is running free and our guards can’t make a pass. They sent two guys at the ball so the pass is there, we just have no one who can execute the pass. That’s just where we’re at. Right now, we have what we have and we’ll work with it and try to get them better and right now you’d hope we would have one of these guards step up, we’re going to have to have one or two of them step up and play to the level they’re supposed to be. I’m going to work really hard to get them to, Coach Glash will, Coach Davis will, but we (coaches) will never put the ball in the basket, we’ll never make a shot, we’ll never make the right read, because we’re not out there.”

“It’s personal responsibility. I’ll take all of mine that I can, it’s always on me no matter what happens but I thought tonight we were prepared with what we need to do against them. I thought we were prepared defensively against them. But at some point you’ve got to function and you’re not going to give yourself a chance to function if you’re frozen. If we get some guys that can elevate here and make some plays and put themselves in position where they can do it, it’ll be amazing how it takes off, but if we don’t it’ll be more ugly basketball.”

The Trailblazers will look to get back in the win column Wednesday, Feb. 17, as VU hosts Shawnee as part of a VU basketball doubleheader. The No. 24-ranked VU Lady Blazers will tip-off at 5 p.m. eastern, with the men’s game to follow at 7 p.m.

“We’ve just got to get better. We’re not going to win shooting 30-percent. We’re not going to win shooting 35-percent and we’re probably not going to be a team that’s unbelievable at scoring the ball so we’re going to have to guard the heck of it. But that alone won’t do it. We guarded the heck out of them tonight to hold them to 53 points and 37-percent shooting when they have that kind of size is difficult. I don’t think you’re going to see many people holding Logan to 53 points or holding them down in the mid 30-percent shooting. We have to continue that and enhance that going forward. We’re going to have to keep at the defensive end and keep getting better and better and then we’ll have to find some guys we can go to offensively.”

“At some point, I have to have somebody that I can put the ball in their hands and if we do, we’ll continue to defend and rebound and don’t give up transitions. We’re going to have to value the ball because we can’t afford to turn it over. We’re getting better there, I thought that got better this week. We weren’t bothered by pressure from Logan tonight, there’s nothing there that got us, we just couldn’t put the ball in the hole. But until somebody rises, we’ll be here, scrambling, trying to figure it out. That’s college basketball, we didn’t have anywhere to go with the ball and hopefully we will by next week.”

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