BY JEFF FALK
ANNVILLE – It’s easy to identify problems, and even easier to pick out causes. It’s much more difficult to figure out remedies.
But the real trick is instituting those solutions.
On Wednesday evening at Lou Sorrentino Gymnasium, the Lebanon Valley College men’s basketball team’s current rebuilt hit a snag, in the form of a 63-54 loss to Lycoming. After falling behind 31-25 at halftime, the Flying Dutchmen were outscored 32-29 over the second 20 minutes of action.
Struggling with their cohesion, offensive execution and team chemistry, the Flying Dutchmen lost for the fifth straight time. Lebanon Valley’s point total represented their lowest of the season.
With the result, LVC slipped to 2-6 overall and 0-3 in the Middle Atlantic Conference Commonwealth. Lycoming upped its seasonal record to 5-3 and its conference mark to 1-2.
“The progress was positive, but now it’s not,” said Lebanon Valley head coach Brad McAlester. “We hit a plateau of not improving. These guys need to raise it up, through hard work and aggressiveness.
“No, they (his players) don’t have an identity,” McAlester continued. “We’re so young, and that’s why. We don’t have roles. We’re not there yet, because no one has stepped up to take those roles.”
Lebanon Valley tallied the first four points of the second half, on a lay-in and two foul shots from Jordan Abdo, to tie the score at 31. But it was pretty much all Warriors from there on out.
After Jeremy Deihm had pulled LVC to within 36-35 of the lead, Lycoming outscored the Flying Dutchmen 19-10 over the next nine minutes to open a 55-45 advantage with 7:06 remaining. The closest Lebanon Valley would come the rest of the way was 60-54, courtesy of an Abdo jumper with 2:09 to go.
“There were no positives to take from this game,” said McAlester. “We’re making bad decisions with the ball. We turned the ball over at crucial times. We didn’t run our offense well.
“We shot the ball way too quick,” added McAlester. “We can get the same shot later in the possession. It’s patience and not having the knowledge of what we need to do.”
With 13 points, Abdo paced the Lebanon Valley scoring. Teammate Chris Anderson contributed 12 points and five assists.
Lebanon Valley made 40 percent of its field goal attempts, despite going four-for-22 from three-point land. From beyond the arc, the Warriors outscored the Flying Dutchmen 27-12.
“Sixty-three wasn’t bad,” said McAlester of his club’s defensive effort. “But what killed us was that they (the Warriors) got offensive rebounds at key times. And they got by us (off the dribble) at times. We weren’t good enough.
“We’ve got to get better,” continued McAlester. “We’re not a very good team right now. Yet we were in the game. We’ve just got to keep making progress. It’s not just one thing. We’ve got to get better at everything, every aspect of the game.”
With points from five different sources – Anderson, Deihm, Lebanon High graduate Justin Baker, Zach Tucker and Trevor Corey – LVC notched 12 of the contest’s first 18 points, over the initial 7:27 of play. But Lycoming outscored Lebanon Valley 15-10 over the final 8:45 of the half to take a six-point advantage to the break.
“They’re OK,” said McAlester of the Warriors. “We both needed this win. They just wanted it more than us. But it’s in the conference, and a win is a win.”
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