Posted Online: Jan. 04, 2013, 10:42 pm

Shooting woes, defense lead to another UT loss

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By Daniel Makarewicz, danmak@qconline.com

More photos from this shoot
Photo: John Greenwood
UTHS's Trevor May drives past Peoria Notre Dame's Ryne Higgins during the first half of their game in East Moline Friday evening.
More photos from this shoot
Photo: John Greenwood
UTHS's Trevor May applies pressure on Peoria Notre Dame's Shea Feehan during the first half of their game at UT Friday night.
More photos from this shoot
Photo: John Greenwood
UTHS's Deveric Rogers looks for an open man as Peoria Notre Dame's Nic Reynolds defends in the third quarter of play Friday night at UT.
There were small glimpses on Friday night when the United Township boys' basketball team consistently converted its shot attempts.

Brief stretches, though, did not translate into offensive success.

Frigid shooting numbers by the Panthers overshadowed spells of solid shooting, leading to another frustrating result. A 33.9-percent clip from the field and the inability to get to the foul line cost UT in a 62-50 nonconference loss to Peoria Notre Dame at the Panther Den.

"We have some stretches where we didn't get the shots we wanted," said UT coach Marc Polite, whose team also took only two foul shots. "We've been doing that pretty much year-long. We have stretches where we do struggle offensively. ... It's difficult for us at certain times because we don't have those guys who can create things."

In losing for the fourth time in five games, the Panthers (3-12) tallied 21 first-half points on nine of 28 shooting from the field. That set the tone for the shooting woes that carried them to their 10th double-digit loss this season.

However, Polite said he could accept the sub-par shooting performance. What bothered him more than anything was a defensive effort that allowed 50 percent shooting and 62 points.

"We had a letdown defensively," Polite said. "We didn't do a very good job on transition defense. Notre Dame has been notoriously good at that because they have guards that put a lot of pressure on your defense. Our defensive rotations were not where they need to be."

Evidence of that was sophomore forward Peter Hanley's 19 points, with all but one coming in the lane or off the fast break. Notre Dame (8-6) consistently attacked the lane, leading to high-percentage looks that were often finished.

The Irish took just seven 3-point attempts andalso had 13 assists on 26 field goals.

"That's the way we've been playing in the last five, six games," said Notre Dame coach Tom Lacher, whose team won for the fourth time in five games. "We're moving the ball much better and being more consistent and getting better shots. And we're better when we're sharing the ball. We need to be ourselves, and ourselves is sharing the basketball, passing the ball and getting good shots."

Whenever UT knocked down shots, it could not slice the double-digit deficit because the Irish scored in the transition or executed in the half court. The third quarter proved especially painful for the Panthers, who allowed Notre Dame to hit seven of its 10 shot attempts and score on all but five possessions.

In that same stretch, UT had seven points and three field goals.

"We've just got to make shots," Polite said. "We had stretches where we rushed. When you get behind, you will have to take quicker shots. But we scored enough. We just didn't defend."

The Panthers, who received double-figure scoring from Trevor May (12 points), Lamont Mitchell (10) and Cody Vroman (10), allowed 60 points for the seventh time this season. They have scored 60 points once.

"We play well in stretches and show flashes of what we could be. Then, we revert back to what we once were," Polite said. "Until we as a staff figure it out and get these guys to understand what we need to do, we're going to continue where we're at."