Comeback too late for men’s basketball team
December 7, 2006
The UW-River Falls men’s basketball team hosted UW-Stevens Point on Dec. 2, boasting a 1-0 conference record. The Falcons attempted to improve their record to 2-0 in conference, but were unsuccessful as they fell to the Pointers 81-73.
The loss brought the Falcons record below .500 at 2-3, while falling to 1-1 in WIAC play.
Jontae Koonkaew led the Falcons with 17 points in the loss.
Most recently, the Falcons traveled to UW-Eau Claire to take on the Blugolds in a hard-fought conference game.
However, the Falcons fell short to the Blugolds on the the road, losing 63-62. The Falcons were ahead by one with under four minutes to go in the final half, but Blugold Zach Ryan scored with only two seconds remaining to give the home team the one-point victory.
Courtney Davis and Jontae Koonkaew lead the Falcons with 15 points each.
While it’s early in the season, the Falcons are very positive and have high expectations on what is to come.
“I feel that the season is going alright as of right now,” junior Ryan Thompson said. “I think that we’re still in the process of getting acquainted with everyone since there are so many new people on our team this season. I think we’re competing though and we will continue to improve as the season goes on. I think we’re capable of doing a lot of good things this season.”
Thompson is one of four juniors on a Falcon squad with no seniors and six freshmen.
Even though the team is so young, Thompson said he doesn’t think they are inexperienced and he believes that the team will continuously get better as the season progresses.
The returning Falcons are working with a new coaching staff.
“I feel that every season will have ups and downs. I think some of the adversity that we are facing this year is just our youth and having a new coaching staff and a new system that comes with that,” Thompson said. “Sometimes it takes a little while to start clicking as a team like you wish for with a new system and whole new group of new faces on the team. But, I really feel the sky is the limit for us.”
In fact, Thompson had nothing but praise for the young members of the Falcon squad.
“The freshmen are doing great. There is no doubt in my mind that we have the best freshman class in the conference,” Thompson said. “Two of the freshmen are playing huge roles already early in the season being Jontae and Nate. They have adjusted very well to the collegiate game, and that’s not an easy adjustment for any ball player. The other four guys are doing well also, and they seem to be improving everyday. They are all capable of having great careers here.”
The Falcons hope to have a successful season and finish toward the top of the conference with the potential of making it to the national tournament.
“As a team we want to make the NCAA tournament. In order to do that we will need to either win our conference tournament or finish in the top two or three in our conference standings during the regular season,” Thompson said. “We know that we are capable of playing and beating anyone in our conference. It’s just a matter of us working together, playing defense and doing it.”
The next game for the Falcons is on Saturday against conference rival UW-Platteville. The Falcons take on the Pioneers in the first game of a Falcon basketball doubleheader at 1 p.m. at the Karges Center.