Sports / The Prairie Fire / January 16, 2013

Knox men plagued by defensive struggles

The Knox College men’s basketball team continued to struggle last Saturday in a 91-51 loss to the Carroll University Pioneers.

Though the Prairie Fire stayed even with Carroll for the first few minutes of the game, the Pioneers blew by with a 47-18 run to close the half and never looked back.

Head Coach Kevin Walden talks to his team during a timeout in the game against Carroll University Saturday, Jan. 12 in Memorial Gym. (Michelle Orr/TKS)

Head coach Kevin Walden called four timeouts during the 14 minute stretch of basketball, but was unable to stop the bleeding. Carroll shot an incredible 69 percent from the field in the first half after repeatedly getting close looks at the basket.

The numbers reinforce what has been Knox’s key issue all season: lackluster defense.

“Defense has been our Achilles heel all season,” Walden said. “When we face adversity we regress.”

Even when Knox has held it together defensively, the team has struggled to keep it up for an entire game. In their loss to Illinois College earlier in the week the Prairie Fire held a 39-37 lead at halftime but were victims of a 27-12 run in the second half and fell 78-62.

“We just have to get better at fighting through things. When you are not doing well, you really have to screw things in.  We are having trouble sustaining a 40-minute game,” Walden said.

Sophomore Mitch Murphy led the Prairie Fire with 10 points while senior Lukas Shaw finished with nine points and eight rebounds.
This weekend Knox faces Lawrence University for the second time this season. The Vikings came away with an 81-66 victory back in December.

“Lawrence is a team that we can compete with,” Walden said. “It was another game that we were in but let get away.”

The game will follow the women’s game against the Vikings with a scheduled start time of 3 p.m. at Memorial Gym.

Tags:  kevin walden knox men's basketball lukas shaw mitch murphy

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Jackson White
Jackson White is a senior double majoring in political science and secondary education. This is his third year as a sports editor for TKS. Over the course of the 2010-2011 academic year, Jackson worked for, writing feature stories and columns about high school and college baseball in central Illinois. Outside of the Publications Office, he is an information assistant for the Knox College Sports Information Department and a two-time all-Midwest Conference baseball player. Jackson is the recipient of five awards from the Illinois College Press Association, including two first place awards for sports game coverage and sports page design.

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