UMES men's basketball coach Bobby Collins won't know the full impact of Monday night's 73-72 overtime loss against South Carolina State until the team takes the floor at Bethune-Cookman on Saturday.
But Collins said he thinks the defeat – only the Hawks’ second in their past seven games – opened their eyes to the formula for being successful in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference.
“It was definitely a wake-up call for our team,” he said Thursday morning. “Sometimes there’s such thing as a good loss, and we’re going to take that loss and build on it because we know that we have to come and play every night. It’s not that we didn’t come to play, but we didn’t play together. These are things that I talk about. … You have to be able to execute, you have to be disciplined on the defensive end, and we learned from that. We saw situations that we did not do that we normally do, and that was the difference in the game.”
It took a 25-foot basket from freshman guard Edward Stephens with 2.3 seconds left in overtime for UMES to fall to 10-10 overall and 3-2 in the league, but Collins was particularly displeased with what he saw from his players.
“It was us not playing together, and it was us that had the mishaps from within,” he said. “We addressed those things and hopefully, we can get back to the way that we play. I told our guys that if we play the way we play, I’ll accept whatever happens. But I cannot accept what happens when we do not play the way we play. That’s what occurred Monday against South Carolina State. We didn’t play the way we’re capable of playing. We didn’t play that hard, and we didn’t play together.”
But Collins said the team is still feeling the ropes, and he hopes that the loss will refine the players’ focus on Saturday.
“It’s a learning process,” he said. “We’re still going through the process. This is a team that hadn’t played together, this is still a team that has a whole new coaching staff and is still trying to learn our system. So that one loss doesn’t define our season. It just gave us a way of doing some things that we know we’ve got to get better at in order for us to win. What that did was enhance the way we’re supposed to play, and it showed us the way we’ve got to play in order to win.”