I know it sounds like a broken record, but there isn't much more to say right now with this team - the Dukes made a valiiant effort against St. Louis tonight but just couldn't quite find a way to finish and lost.
And it is the same story - the Dukes are just one or two players short which is why they can fight so hard and play so well to get to a tie -- 55-55 -- with 4 minutes and some change to play - then give up a 14-1 run and get blown out in the final four minutes.
They do so many good things and then they take a step back because to quote Jim Ferry "the margin for error is so small" and he is right -- it is hard to win games when you are outmanned almost every night and you have to do everything right just to get to a point where you can think about winning.
I thought the difference in the game was St. Louis's guard Kwamain Mitchell was able to drive and make some critical plays down the stretch while the Dukes made some turnovers and missed some shots.
SOME of this is due to inexperience, especially when you consider the Dukes best player right now is probably Derrick Colter a true freshman and freshmen Quevyn Winters and Jeremiah Jones are playing a lot of minutes as well but this deep into the season some of these guys also need to step up and be accountable and make plays at the end of these games.
One thing that is clear - Ferry is not putting up with any nonsense and he is going to get these younger kids a lot of minutes.
Tonight, for instance, Andre Marhold played ZERO minutes and after the game and Ferry made it clear "Andre Marhold was not hurt, he was not hurt at all...." and then proceeded to say that Marhold will be on the bench until he shows leadership and accountability the way an upperclassman should.
In other words, he doesn't like Marhold's work ethic and he doesn't like his inconsistency and he is not going to play him just because he is a senior and one of the few returning starters.
That is how you set the tone in the program - there is a certain level of expectations for how the players must act and if they don't meet it, they don't get to play.
This team will get better, this team will put it all together a few times and surprise a few teams in the Atlantic 10 but these are growing pains and while it is no fun for you, the fans, it is the only way to improve.
These younger players need to fight through this, learn the tough lessons now and get tougher and better in the process and if they do, they will be better off for it down the road.
Colter, by the way, has scored in double figures 11 games in a row now and tonight he logged 33 minutes - so he is clearly learning on the job but is getting plenty of opportunities to learn.