When a basketball team has lost six games in a row to start the season, as the Idaho Stampede have, the only thing the team can do is look for positives.
The Stampede have this after their 98-88 loss to the Austin Toros on Saturday night: They went down with a fight.
The game was a stark contrast to the previous night, when Idaho (0-6) trailed by as many as 29 points in a 113-91 home-opening loss to Austin (4-2).
I told the guys that I was as disappointed as any of them, coach Mike Peck said. But the one thing I will say is that I can swallow this a lot easier that I could swallow (Friday) night.
On Friday, Idaho led for all of 45 seconds. Saturday, the Stampede led throughout the first half and went to the locker room with a 52-46 lead at the break.
We had a heck of a half, Peck said. Guys were very active.
Added Idaho forward Jason Ellis: Its encouraging. Were playing with more urgency, and our execution on offense was better. (Friday) night, we were working so hard to get a shot off. (Saturday), we were moving the ball around a lot crisper and we had some open looks.
The third quarter has been trouble for Idaho so far this season, and Saturday wasnt any different.
Austin took control of the game by coming out of the locker room and outscoring Idaho 33-19 in the third frame.
Idaho battled back, however, and made it a four-point game, 92-88, with 1 minute, 42 seconds remaining.
We put ourselves in a position at the end to make it very interesting, Peck said.
But in the end, Austin proved to be too much as the Toros outscored Idaho 6-0 to close out the win. The Toros won the NBA Development League championship last season, and they have several key players back this year.
Will Barton, on assignment from the Portland Trail Blazers, had another solid night for the Stampede. He led the team in scoring with 21 points, and was one of four Stampede players in double digits.
Victor Claver, the second player on the Blazers roster who joined Idaho on Friday, was much-improved Saturday night and contributed 15 points.
Peck doesnt know if Barton and Claver will be with the team for games Friday and Saturday against Santa Cruz.
Ellis, for one, wouldnt mind if the two stuck around for a little while longer.
Theyre super-talented guys, and any addition to the team would be great, Ellis said.