After strongly disagreeing with several calls made during Saturday’s game between Hood and Widener, Chad Dickman conceded that he thought game officials called the contest “tightly.”
But for the Blazers’ men’s basketball coach, tightly called games throughout the course of a four-month season are inevitable. So are cold-shooting performances, even for a Hood team that has shot the ball quite well this season.
So Dickman was more concerned with Hood’s ability to find solutions for those issues Saturday at BB&T Arena, and the Blazers didn’t do nearly enough in an 88-61 loss to the Pride.
“There’s going to be adversity, you’re going to miss shots, you’re going to get calls against you,” Dickman said. “You let that affect your entire mindset, you’ve lost already.”
Dealing with a Pride team that found its range from the perimeter in the second half compounded those issues. Leading 44-40 with 14 minutes, 30 seconds remaining, Widener went on a 19-5 run that included four 3-pointers — two each from Jared Peters and Elijah Boyd, a St. John’s Catholic Prep alum. The second of Boyd’s 3s capped the run, giving the Pride (6-3 overall, 3-1 MAC Commonwealth) a 63-45 lead with 9:38 left.
Widener’s Tyler Drews later nailed four more 3s in less than four minutes, with the last one extending the Pride’s lead to 27. Drews finished an assist short of a triple double, collecting 17 points, 11 rebounds and nine assists. Peters, who went 5-of-7 from behind the arc, scored a team-high 18 points. Ryan McMahon added 14 points, 10 rebounds, and six assists while Boyd had 11 points, seven rebounds and three assists.
Hood (7-3, 2-2) and Widener each shot 12 3-pointers in the first half, with both teams making just two. But while the Pride rebounded nicely, going 9-for-16 on 3s in the second half, the Blazers went just 3-of-11 and shot 35 percent from the field for the game.
Hood entered the contest shooting just under 46 percent for the season.
“We could have had each of our guys commit 10 fouls, and it wouldn’t have mattered,” Dickman said.
Behind two 3-pointers from Michael Riley, Hood jumped out to an 11-2 lead. But fouls started piling up shortly thereafter as five different players picked up at least two before halftime. Mason Wang, who entered the contest averaging a team-high 20.4 points per game, was whistled for his second foul just 3:21 into the game, forcing him to the bench. He later picked up his third foul with 3:59 left in the half.
Also, the Blazers’ second- and third-leading scorers, Riley and Anthony Pearson, each collected two fouls in the first half.
Riley finished with a team-high 16 points and five rebounds, and Pearson had eight points and 10 rebounds. Ian Eversull added nine points and four rebounds.
“It’s just hard for us to get going when your top players can’t really find a rhythm,” Riley said when asked about the Blazers’ foul issues. “The bench players come in, and we’re already playing slow, so it’s hard for them to get into a rhythm.
“So it’s a trickle-down effect when we get into foul trouble. It really hurts the whole team instead of [one] player alone.”
With outside shots not falling, Dickman would have liked his team to attack the paint more and get to the free-throw line.
“We didn’t do it,” Dickman said. “Credit to [Widener]. They did a good job defensively, but we just couldn’t get into a groove after the first couple minutes of the game.”