Quotable from UE’s loss to Drake

The Aces saw a four-game winning streak end Wednesday at Drake by an 83-69 score, UE’s second-worst loss (margin-wise) of the season. However, this is one the Aces saw coming just three days after they beat then-No. 23 Wichita State at the Ford Center.

Said coach Marty Simmons: “You’ve got to build habits through practice. After the Wichita State game we were very lethargic in two days of practice. It was disappointing because that’s the key when you’re game planning. When you’re into games now, it’s repetition, repetition. It’s the effort, the ability to retain the information  and we were just not locked in. So now our challenge is to go back and get locked in. I think the players in the locker room were very disappointed. We’re going to play a very good team in Indiana State, and we’ve got to get prepared, go up there, compete and execute much better than we did tonight.”

Senior Colt Ryan, who led the Aces with 25 points, shouldered the blame: “We weren’t very sharp, and that’s my fault. Being a senior captain who’s been playing for four years. In conference, they come back to back and this was one of the first games where we’ve really gone to (back) to practice right after the game. It was an emotional game — a hard-fought win for us against Wichita. But we’ve got to come out and have a much better practice the next day. We’ve got the same thing coming with Indiana State this week, and it’s another road game so we’ve got to have a better practice.”

Added senior Ned Cox: “We definitely lacked in practice the last few days, and I think it carried over to the game. We didn’t sustain it the whole 40 minutes. We made a run. I think we need to come in tomorrow — the next two days — and work harder in practice as we prepare for Indiana State.”

How will they work harder? “I guess our energy level — we just weren’t sharp,” Cox said. “We need to get more leadership.”

Drake, the MVC’s second-best 3-point shooting team, went 11 of 20 (55 percent) from beyond the arc: “You’ve got to give resistance,” Simmons said. “We talked about that right after the Wichita State game. You’ve got to give resistance. You’ve got to be able to eliminate middle penetration. All fundamentals we’ve worked on. Just very disappointed in just our effort and our ability to execute fundamentals.”

The Aces actually led by 10 points in the first half. “We made a run early in the game, and we just didn’t sustain it,” Cox said. “Credit them for knocking in a lot of shots and shooting a high percentage, but we have to do a lot better in our closeouts — make them have more contested shots without so many open looks.”

UE shot just 32 percent in the loss. “You’ve got to make sure when you’re in one of those droughts that we’ve got to get a bucket,” Ryan said. “Tonight, we turned the ball over way too much, and we didn’t make enough shots. I missed too many shots in those time frames where they get on those runs. You’ve got to be able to make shots because they can’t go on runs like that.”

The game got away from the Aces in the second half while, as UE went 9:54 without a field goal, Drake went on an 18-3 run. “We’ve got to get to the line from, get a basket at the rim — something going to the rim,” Ryan said. “It’s got to be more than just taking a perimeter jump shot, and that’s what (Simmons) means by, we can’t settle or shoot our way through it. Pass up a decent shot early in the shot clock to get a better looking one late in the shot clock. Make them play defense and get out of their offensive rhythm. Tonight, we didn’t do a really good job of that.”

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