It certainly wasn’t the regular season home opener No. 9 Benedictine was hoping for coming off one of the most successful seasons in program history.
The Ravens took one on the chin in their 93-63 loss to Morningside Friday in the Holiday Inn Basketball Classic.
The Mustangs dominated the first half and only allowed Benedictine to shoot 17 percent from the field.
The game was essentially over at halftime with Ravens facing a staggering 40-12 deficit
Coach Ryan Moody said his team didn’t have an answer for the smothering defense No. 4 Morningside came out with.
“I think they came out and blitzed us,” Moody said. “They put tons of pressure on us, denied passing lanes and made everything hard on offense.”
Moody said the defense of the Ravens hung tough early on but just couldn’t overcome the misfires of the offense.
“We weren’t really even getting clean looks and you put pressure on your defense when you just keep missing,” Moody said. “You can’t continue to get stops and stay in the game.”
Moody also admitted his team didn’t seem to have the same fight early in the game they’ve had in the past year.
“I was disappointed in our team in general in the first half with our will too,” Moody said. “I think we gave in when we got down, our body language got bad and I’m not sure our effort was sustained.”
Moody didn’t sugar coat the loss but said there is plenty to learn from.
“I’m not going to say there were a lot of positives in this game but there is a lot to learn from,” Moody said. “It’s only game three but we have a lot of things that have nothing to do with X’s and O’s that we have to work on.”
Moody did give credit to the caliber of team Benedictine played on the night and said he’d be stunned if the Mustangs weren’t competing for a title at the NAIA Division II level in March.
“I’ll be shocked if that team isn’t in the final four at the Divison II level,” Moody said. “That team is loaded.”
Junior Guard Jaiden Bristol led the team with 15 on the night and senior guard Colby Nickels was second with 10.
The Ravens will look to bounce back Saturday at 5 p.m. against No. 15 John Brown University.