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UT down, but it’s early in campaign

12/06/2016, 12:46am EST
By By BRIAN BUCKEY BLADE SPORTS WRITER

Rockets have lost 3 straight, 4 of past 5

UT down, but it’s early in campaign

Toledo guard Jordan Lauf, left, passes the ball during Saturday’s game against Green Bay at Savage Arena. BLADE/JEREMY WADSWORTH

Despite a tough string of recent results, University of Toledo men’s basketball coach Tod Kowalczyk is confident his team will find its way.

“We have some guys right now that are just struggling with their confidence,” Kowalczyk said after an overtime loss Saturday to Green Bay. “We have some really good players that just aren’t playing to their capabilities. That will change. They will find their groove and we’ll play better, but we have some guys that are struggling.”

The Rockets (3-5) have lost three consecutive games and four of their past five.

Since defeating Wright State on Nov. 19, Toledo lost at Middle Tennessee by 10 points before travelling to the Challenge in Music City in Nashville.

There, they opened with a double-overtime win against Evansville before losing again to Middle Tennessee, this time by three in overtime. They closed the tournament with a blowout loss to UNC-Wilmington before returning home and losing another overtime game to the Phoenix.

Kowalczyk pointed out the three consecutive losses weren’t similar and Toledo found a way to lose.

“They were all different,” Kowalczyk said. “Middle Tennessee, we deserved to win the game. We were the better team and deserved to win the game. We had some really bad calls that affected that game. 

“I think in Sunday’s game [UNC-Wilmington], we ran out of gas. We were up eight in the first half and down three at halftime. We ran out of gas and we didn’t play some guys at the end of the game. 

“[Green Bay] was a different story. We had so many opportunities. If we make some foul shots at the end of regulation, we win the game. We had several opportunities to win the game.”

Senior guard Jonathan Williams said the team has to focus on cleaning up its mistakes at the end of games.

“You just can’t make mistakes down the stretch,” Williams said. “Everybody in the MAC and all these teams that we play are good teams. We don’t have a weak schedule. We have a strong schedule, so we can’t make mistakes down the stretch.”

The loss to Green Bay was the fourth overtime game of the season already for Toledo.

“We’ve won some close games, too,” Kowalczyk said. “It’s our fourth overtime game in eight games. We have to lead the country in overtime games. We are 2-2 in them, so it’s not like we are bad in them, we just have to find ways to win those games.”

Toledo hosts Detroit Mercy at 7 p.m. Wednesday at Savage Arena before heading to Marshall on Saturday.

Contact Brian Buckey at: bbuckey@theblade.com or 419-724-6110.

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Toledo guard Jonathan Williams shoots as Green Bay guard Khalil Small defends during Saturday’s game at Savage Arena. BLADE/JEREMY WADSWORTH

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Tag(s): College  Toledo