By MEL SUITER
Photography by ALICE MARY HERDEN
TAMPA, Fla. ---- Nothing beats opening night!
Pasco Hernando State College men’s basketball season has officially begun and there is plenty of room for improvement for this team after the Bobcats were defeated by Hillsborough Community College 81-71, to start the season.
There were times when both teams made plays that made the crowd appreciative and then there were plays that brought on a chorus of sighs.
At times during the game, both teams struggled with finding any points, playing defense or communicating with each other out on the court. Those things can be corrected because there is still a lot of basketball remaining.
Pasco Hernando State College mens’ basketball coach Micheal Jones said after the game, he was inspired by his team, their effort during the game but at the same time he also recognized that his team has a long way to go and like his team, the season is really young.
The roster for the Bobcats currently have 10 freshmen but Jones said that being young is not an excuse.
“What I really like about tonight’s game is that we competed for 40 minutes but we did not get the W,” Jones said. “But it is our first JUCO game of the year. We got them in position to take the lead, at the end of the game we came up short. We need some minor adjustments and we will be okay.”
Being young, the Bobcats displayed a lot of energy on the court and sometimes that energy looked to be out of control with poor shot selection. There were miracle drives toward the basket, cutting through sometimes as many as three defenders, but the communication with teammates failed at times which made the flow of the offense look out of control.
There were too many droughts for baskets not scored by the Bobcats and Hillsborough Community College took full advantage and found the points necessary to pull away from Pasco-Hernando State College.
Jones saw that too but he said it is nothing that cannot be addressed in practice.
“I like our effort, we turned the ball over more than we should have. We probably should’ve had more rebounds, we needed to box out,” Jones said. “Free throws that we missed that we should have made so we got to work on it.”
Nov. 4, 2019 in New Port Richey, Fla. was opening night at home inside the coziness of the gymnasium, there should have been an excited crowd and there should have been excited basketball players but none of that arrived at Pasco Hernando State College.
It was another game that proved that the Bobcats have a little more work to do this season, before they develop into a team that can provide plenty of trouble for the opposition and excitement for the Bobcats’ basketball fans.
Pasco-Hernando State College provided Johnson University their first victory of the season after five tries. The Bobcats were blistered by the Suns 88-67, dropping the first home game of the season and are still looking for their first victory.
The game started on a weird issue before the tip off. Johnson University was given a technical foul because they did not provide a numbered roster to the scorer's table.
A gift for Pasco Hernando State College, to be able to score a point before the start of the game- a head start. The Bobcats missed the free throw and that was a foretell about the offense that was going to be on display by the Bobcats.
Johnson University basketball coach Landis McCoy looked like he was confused about the technical foul but after the explanation from the game official, McCoy looked at the roster, shook his head and said he understood why the foul was called.
That was all that McCoy’s team was confused about during the game. They used a transition style of game to apply pressure on the Bobcats’ defense, which did not respond well and making it a long night because there was no entertainment by the Bobcats.
“The first win of the season feels great not only the first win of the season, but the first win of my career as a head coach,” McCoy said before leaving the gym. “We have a long way to go. We played with a bunch of energy and I like that whether they were in the game or not.”
Pasco Hernando State College basketball coach Micheal Jones watched the game standing for most of the game and what he witnessed was 22 turnovers made by his team.
Most coaches, no matter what the sport, do not like turnovers. After two games the Bobcats have committed 24.5 turnovers and have given the opponents 84.5 points.
“Tonight we didn’t show up!” Jones said after the game. “I didn’t see the Bobcats I normally see, I didn’t see the hard work, I didn’t see the effort. I didn’t see it until the last three minutes but for the bulk of the game I didn't see our full potential.”
Bobcats sophomore forward Antonio Tucker lead his team with 15 points, he worked hard to get into position to surround five rebounds for his team.
Once again the offense struggled to find points and once again the Bobcats were not able to finish at the basket by getting the ball through the net.
Cold shooting in the first half only produced 24 points for the Bobcats and the struggling for points also created too many holes in the defense which allowed the Suns 49 points in the first half.
“Granted they are a four-year program and they have some good players but so do we,” Jones said. “This is college you have to come out and be ready to play every given night. No matter who you are playing or what level it is you still got to go out there and play and tonight we just didn’t do it!”
For the game the Bobcats shot 25.8 percent from the field and beyond the arch Pasco Hernando State College only made two baskets after taking 17 shots for three-points.
After two games the Bobcats are shooting 31 percent as a team but the Bobcats are getting to the boards averaging 45.5 rebounds in the young season.
This team is going to take some time to get adjusted to each other and to Jones’ style of coaching the game of basketball.
The lesson will continue Wednesday night Nov. 9 at 7 p.m. inside the gymnasium on the campus of Pasco Hernando State College against State College of Florida Manatees.
It takes time for success and for the fans of Bobcat basketball, after two games this is just a good exercise in being patient- relax they just got started!