They made a furious run to close out the game, but the season opener for the Owensboro Thoroughbreds didn’t go quite as they had hoped. Down by as many as 25 points in the second half, the comeback bid fell short in a 104-97 loss to the Tampa Bay Titans.
Owensboro (0-1) had a slow start to Friday night’s game at the Sportscenter, but a 3-pointer by Demarcus Robinson at the end of the first quarter tied the game at 26-all. Tampa Bay (1-0), though, used the second period to take a big lead. A 10-0 run midway through the quarter opened up the game, and they pushed the advantage to 64-49 at the half.
First-year Thoroughbreds head coach Adam Chrisco said his team lacked the energy he wanted to start, but they picked it up late in the contest.
“I think we had a serious lack of energy in the first half,” he said. “I think our intensity picked up a little too late. That’s my fault as a coach for not having us at that high level the whole game. When we did that and stepped up our energy, we played better.”
Owensboro still wasn’t able to make a dent in the third quarter, facing their biggest deficit at 90-65 before scoring the final 5 points of the period.
Finally, in the final frame, the Thoroughbreds used a quick pace and more pressure to consistently chip away for a chance at a win. Baskets by Corey Wilford and Anthony Jones, along with two free throws from Dominic Phillips, cut the deficit to 99-95 with 1:55 to play.
While Chrisco was happy with the play in the second half, he said it was disappointing to see the lack of intensity early.
“It feels like what we did in the first half wasn’t right and what we did in the second half was right,” he said. “I really thought we were ready to bring top effort. It was slow and looked confusing at times on offense.”
Aside from the outcome, Chrisco was happy with opening night. With an entirely new approach to increase the fanbase, a crowd of roughly 600 people came out to see the revitalized franchise.
“Owensboro does support its basketball teams,” Chrisco said. “We witnessed that tonight. They made me proud. They made me happy.”
The Thoroughbreds have a quick tournament, hosting the Titans again at 7 p.m. Saturday. Chrisco said the biggest adjustment will be starting that game like they ended the one on Friday.
“Get after it right from the beginning,” Chrisco said.” We had a plan coming in to trap them and go on a quick run and put some ball pressure on them, and we didn’t the pressure we wanted.”
Tampa Bay 28-36-26-14–104
Owensboro: Dominic Phillips 17, Anthony Jones 17, Demarcus Robinson 12, Sam Sikes 11, Brett McKnight 9, Cody Ballard 8, James Still 7, Westley Hinton 6, Corey Wilford 4, Odd-gra Bobo 3, Quincey Skates 1