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Strong finish offensively not enough to allow Spokane to mount a comeback

SPOKANE'S BO ESSICK looks over the court for an open teammate against Mansfield on Tuesday.
SPOKANE'S BO ESSICK looks over the court for an open teammate against Mansfield on Tuesday.

Ethan Newell felt it took far too long for him his Spokane teammates to shake off their early shooting woes Tuesday.

The Owls’ numbers certainly support that sentiment.

Spokane couldn’t recover from 26-percent field-goal shooting in the first half while falling 75-61 to Mansfield.

“We all came out, missed a shot and then we were in our heads,” Newell said. “We weren't thinking straight. When we get out of our heads, the better off we will be.”

The Owls actually had to make their final two shots of the first half to get to 26 percent. They started the night 6-of-29 from the field and fell behind by 15 points, 32-17.

Spokane’s offensive troubles weren’t restricted to poor shooting. The Owls were guilty of eight turnovers in the first half.

Compounding Spokane’s frustrations was the fact the Owls were getting just the kind of looks at the bucket coach Newt Starrett hoped they would have.

"I looked up at the scoreboard (in the second quarter) and we were down by eight but we'd missed four or five wide open layups and some wide open 3s,” Starrett said.

Newell was hindered by foul trouble most of the game. He had eight points and three fouls in the first half, before finishing with a pair of 3-pointers and 18 points in limited minutes.

"My first game in foul trouble, it was rough,” Newell said. “We were trying to get steals and it didn't work out. When you get that fourth foul, you're worried about getting your fifth and letting your team down. I kept trying to do what I could.”

Spokane’s offense somewhat remarkably turned things around in the second half. The Owls finished strong, making 10 of their final 16 field-goal attempts and shot 54 percent overall in the second half.

David Blake, Ricky Riott, Bo Essick and Kasen Blaue all scored nine points and Ridge Kipper came off of Spokane’s bench to contribute seven points.

After spotting Mansfield a 32-17 second quarter lead, Spokane outscored the Lions by a point the rest of the way.

“We were working harder once we saw we were gaining on them and toward the end we did a lot better,” Kipper said. “We saw we could do it. We were passing the ball better and not being selfish with the ball.”

Starrett credited his players for making progress on the offensive end.

“I’ve been preaching that we need to shoot the ball more," he said. “We've got to have more shots. I feel like we’ve passed up several open shots (in past games) and then have a turnover.  We need to shoot quicker and not give ourselves the opportunity to turn the ball over. I feel we did shoot more tonight.”

Spokane (2-5) didn't pull closer than 11 points of Mansfield (4-1) down the stretch, as the Owls' defense couldn't get key stops.

“When we make some, we've got to stop giving up some,” Starrett said.