All it takes to fall flat on your face is a slick spot to have you land on your back. That's exactly where the Iowa Energy are as they dropped two weekend games to the Canton Charge then to the Sioux Falls Skyforce.
Despite starting out the fourth quarter on a 17-2 run, Iowa found themselves in a strange but familiar place in the loss column falling to Canton 104-95 making the Eastern Conference a horse race as the herd comes around turn four.
Brandon Ewing led the Energy with 19 points followed former by Division III big man Ben Strong with 18 points. To the home team, they felt they were anything but strong afterwards.
"Defensively, we didn't match their intensity," said Ewing. "Sure our effort was there, we were trying to do the right things in order to win the game, but the intensity lacked tonight."
For example, Canton ended the first quarter on a 8-2 run.
"We had spurts of good defense," said Strong. "To win basketball games, you can't have bad spurts like we had."
"To be a championship-caliber team, we have to contain their runs, and we gave them one too many," said Ewing. "We didn't make enough runs ourselves."
The largest lead Canton had in this game was 17.
"They had big plays and we couldn't get over the hump," said Strong. "I thought we were going to come back, and we fought back but it wasn't good enough."
Ewing points out that having fourth quarter comebacks won't make wins happen.
"We can't wait until the fourth quarter anymore," Ewing said. "Especially in times right now."
Ewing also realizes that time is valuable.
"Tempers are getting short," he said. "Everyone knows that time is running out and when other teams want to knock out the Iowa Energy, heads will knock together."
Head Coach Kevin Young keeps things in perspective.
"Overall, the effort was better than bad, but that doesn't matter, we still lost," said Young."Bottom line is, excuses are unacceptable at this point."
Leading scorer for the Charge was Alan Anderson with 27 points in just under 39 minutes. Terrance Thomas was just short of a double-double with eight points and 10 rebounds.
Having five players scoring in double figures wasn't enough for the Energy to get past the Skyforce, who won their third straight game, but fell Tuesday night to Springfield 115-109.
Leading scorer for the Skyforce was Brian Hamilton putting up 27 off the bench shooting 8-for-14 in a solid 38 minutes. Hamilton also brought down 10 rebounds and also shot 11-for-15 from the three throw line. Marcus Blakely, who started the season with the Energy after being traded to Sioux Falls, scored 18.
"It's kind of the way things have been going for us lately," said Andrew Drevo. Drevo put up 14 points and four rebounds.
"We need to change something obviously, because this isn't working," said Drevo.
Xavier Henry tried to come in and save the Energy for a day after being sent down by the New Orleans Hornets, but his 13 points weren't enough.
"I didn't get the best out of my jumper out of me today, but that's not the only thing that went wrong," said Henry.
Henry returned back to his NBA buddies the next night, but team officials hinted he may make a return. Henry is happy to contribute wherever he can.
"I like this team, they're not bickering at each other," Henry said. "They want to win, and that's where I want to be."
Henry, of course, is following his Kansas Jayhawks in the NCAA Tournament.
"I try to catch their games whenever I can."
Evidently going on the road didn't cure the rash for the Energy either.
Coach Young tried to mix things up by putting Curtis Stinson back in the lineup and giving Michael Tveidt a rare start. On the other hand, Andrew Drevo only saw six minutes of playing time whereas Ben Strong saw nearly 44 minutes on the floor.
The Toros' leading scorer was Lester Hudson shooting 9-for-18 (6-for-11 from three-point territory) and put up 24 points.
Austin won this game from the free throw line shooting 19-for-25 compared to Iowa's 13-for-15.
Iowa tries to find a win Friday night against Tulsa.