Basketball is losing but not end of world

Kurt Snyder

I have sat in the student section all year, and the attitude at Saturday’s men’s basketball game was increasingly disgusting.

I am not going to dispute the poor play of some of the Flashes. I am not going to dispute the frustration I feel when they take poor shots or miss a seemingly easy rebound.

But when the ball meets the court, you are either with us or against us.

If you are one of those who just shows up for ESPN, the station will not be back this year, so do something else next week. I would rather have 3,000 cheering fans instead of 6,000 moaners and groaners.

The Flashes are in the midst of a February losing streak for the third straight year, but they are still 16-10. They are a quick turnaround away from extending their own Mid-American Conference record of consecutive 20-win seasons.

Chill out!

Do not complain when the Flashes are losing 7-3 at the first media timeout. It is 7-3. “These guys are awful. They can’t hit a shot.” A whole one-tenth of the game has been played.

For those of you who were lucky enough to be on campus in 2002, Trevor Huffman and Demetric Shaw are not coming back. No offense to the current or future players in the program, but 2002 will probably never happen again. This team is not 6-20. It is 16-10.

Southern Illinois is one of the top three teams the Flashes will play all year. The Salukis are what we expect the Flashes to be. They are headed to their fourth straight NCAA Tournament. They have veteran guards that dominated the Flashes guards. Their big guys made their 15-foot jumpers.

Point guard DeAndre Haynes has played sloppy and out of control much of the time over the past two months. Is he trying too hard, or just paying less attention to detail? Nobody really knows.

Haynes’ backup Marcus Crenshaw is a freshman. He will score points in his Flashes career. He has a better shot than Haynes will probably ever have. But he is still a freshman.

Crenshaw still plays on the court like someone who occasionally begins doodling in class. Everybody has done it — taken a class or a possession off. Unfortunately, his doodling under the basket gave away the Flashes’ last lead of Saturday’s game.

The Flashes shot just 2-of-18 from 3-point range Saturday. It is easy to yell down from the stands to quit shooting. But Armon Gates and Jason Edwin are good shooters as is Kevin Warzynski. Do you want them to pound it inside?

Edwin and Jay Youngblood have been strong recently when taking the ball to the basket, but who do you want to post up? Antonio Gates is not around to bat away three defenders on his way to the basket. John Edwards is not available to jump over everyone. Both of those guys were behind the bench Saturday night.

For better or for worse, the Flashes are a jump-shooting team. Coach Jim Christian said the Flashes took the shots he drew up. The Flashes just simply did not make a 3-pointer in a half for the first time all year.

The Flashes have blemishes like every team. The Flashes simply have more than they have had in the past five seasons. But look around at the rest of the MAC, students are jumping at the chance to be supporting their teams in the same position.

Do not accept mediocrity. But it is not mediocrity yet. The Flashes just may not win every game this season.

Take your free ticket and enjoy the game. But if you want to know the outcome before you go somewhere, go to a movie.

I told a friend Saturday night I was a sucker for punishment.

I will be back in the student section Saturday when the Flashes play Akron. Will you?

Contact managing editor Kurt Snyder at [email protected].