Cyclones Lose Again 109-98

After losing a nine game win streak on Tuesday night, sophomore Luke Hook said the Cyclones “really needed a win” against Prairie State on Thursday night.  For some teams, one loss after a month long win streak may not be cause for panic, then again some teams aren’t the two-time defending conference champions, and any conference loss can be damaging to a team trying to retain their conference crown.

In the first half of Thursday night’s tilt against Prairie State, the Cyclones came out firing. In an offense-friendly first half, the Cyclones scored eight threes and Northern Illinois commit, Tommy Demogerontas led the game with 20 points. Prairie State, however, were not about to be out shot. Prairie State largely matched Moraine Valley blow for blow, only trailing 52-45 at halftime. Cyclones assistant coach, Tanner Mitchell liked how the Cyclones played in the first half, adding that they were shooting the ball well in transition, but needed to close down more on defense and be more aggressive on “50-50 balls.”

The second half proved to be a different story for the Cyclones. The Cyclones struggled offensively and Prairie State capitalized. The Cyclones were outscored 64-46 in the second half, and several Cyclones fell into foul trouble. Jason Robards and Juwan Howard each had four fouls in the game. As a team, the Cyclones committed 13 fouls compared to Prairie State’s nine.

After the game, Hook and Radcliffe repeated that the Cyclones needed to show more “pride” in their defense. Radcliffe even admitted to some “frustration” in the locker room after a “bad way to lose a game.” Radcliffe particularly seemed frustrated by the team’s inability to do the “little things,” adding that Prairie State “out-hustled and out-worked” the Cyclones and that if they “don’t start playing with heart and effort, it’s gonna [sic] be a long season.”

Assistant coach Roosevelt Green focused on the “dribble penetration” Prairie State was able to get in Thursday’s game. Green also added that the team “struggled on the boards,” especially trying to grab defensive rebounds. During the game, Amarino became animated in response to many calls going Prairie State’s way, however Green, Hook, and Radcliffe all said that while the refereeing wasn’t perfect, it’s hard to blame the referees for the loss.

Going forward, the Cyclones admit that they need to clamp down defensively and avoid foul troubles. Hook, who called the game “unfortunate,” simply said the Cyclones need “more ball pressure” to improve the defense and to “keep our hands of guys” to avoid foul trouble. Radcliffe went further, saying that “it’s all effort,” adding ” a lot of times, we’re late to a spot and we’re forced to foul.”

Hook seemed optimistic about the recent addition of Juwan Howard to the roster. Howard, who was ineligible until recently, played in his first home game for the Cyclones on Thursday. Howard struggled on the floor, picking up four fouls, but Hook said Howard gives the Cyclones a “big guy around the rim capable of blocking and altering shots.”

The Cyclones will need to rebound quickly, with three conference games in the next week including two games against conference heavyweights, Oakton Community College and Morton College.

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First Half:

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