Clink. Clank. Clunk.
That’s the soundtrack of UAA men’s basketball in 2004.
It’s rapidly becoming an epidemic, infecting each and every player. Up and down the court. Time after time. The Seawolves get a good shot. And the ball bounces off the rim.
“It’s kind of a plague I guess, we are having a hard time shooting the ball,” said guard Marcus Robinson. “It will come around. That’s all I can say. But I don’t know what it is. We can shoot the ball but right now everybody’s off.”
Everybody had better get “on” after a pair of close losses 52-51 and 62-57 to Western Oregon and Humboldt State Dec. 1 and 3.
At the moment, the Seawolves sit last in the 10-team Great Northwest Athletic Conference in field goal percentage at 40 percent. The team is last in scoring with 57 points per game. It is second to last in both assists and assist-to-turnover ratio.
Those statistics add up to make the most important one of all—wins and losses. The Seawolves are cellar dwellers in conference with a 0-2 record and sit at 2-6 overall.
All this from a team that was picked to finish fourth in conference at the start of the season. A UAA team that shot better from three-point range than all but five of 268 Division II teams last season.
“I am kind of frustrated because I know how good we can be as a team and the coaches know how good we can be,” Robinson said. “It is frustrating to us as a team because we try so much in practice to get better but we come out on the court and have certain lapses during certain times in the game.”
Yes, the team is missing injured returning guards Aaron Lawrence and Kemmy Burgess, who hit a school-record 100 threes last year at a .500 clip. But it still doesn’t explain what’s happening to the healthy crop of Seawolves.
In the the Seawolves loss to Humboldt State, the numbers told the story. Robinson, the team’s leading scorer, went 4-16 from the floor. Senior captian Mark Drake, who is second all-time at UAA in made three-pointers, went 1-4. Normally rock-solid Adam Fitt-Chappell was 2-7. Brad Evans, who joined UAA with a reputaton as a sharp-shooter, was 1-6.
“Good shooters just aren’t putting it in the basket,” UAA head coach Rusty Osborne said. “We are getting guys with histories of making shots their shots. But you can only draw the plays up. The shots have to fall.”
The rest of the team wasn’t much better. UAA barely managed to shoot 25 percent in the first half, starting out 1-8 as a team. On one possession in the half, the Seawolves got three straight offensive rebounds and threw up four consecutive bricks.
“It isn’t something that anybody else is doing to us. It’s just us, “ Robinson said. “And our execution. We knock them down in practice. I can’t blame it on any thing else.”
It’s something that’s been putting the squad on the brink of breaking the kinds of records this season they don’t want broken.
UAA had one of the lowest scoring halves in Great Alaska Shootout history when they were down 54-20 to Alabama opening night after starting the game in a 16-0 hole. It took 19 points in the final 57 seconds of the game against Western Oregon to avoid the lowest point total in Seawolf history. And those two teams are on opposite ends of the talent spectrum. The Crimson Tide is in the upper echelon of Division I, while the Wolves are at the bottom of Division II.
It’s left the Seawolves searching for a remedy to somehow try to reignite their scoring touch.
“We are going to run a more up-tempo offense and try to get more buckets in transition,” Robinson said. “It’s all about being more aggressive. All those shots will get easier for us. I am not worried about it. I have faith in my teammates and faith in myself. Hopefully it starts next game.”
If it does, then the Seawolves can finally hear the sound they like best.