Idaho Stampede loss ‘embarrassing;’ coach challenges players

Pierre Jackson scores 30 points, but Stampede lose for fifth time in six games.© 2013 Idaho StatesmanDecember 31, 2013 

The Idaho Stampede played their final basketball game of 2013 on Monday night, leaving one to wonder:

Which team will show up in 2014?

Will it be the one that shot out of the gates with eight straight wins to open their NBA Development League season?

Or will it be the team that has lost five of its past six games, including Monday’s 114-99 home loss to the Los Angeles D-Fenders?

Coach Mike Peck knows this: If his team continues to come out flat, it won’t have many happy results in the new year or at the end of the regular season.

“Do you want it all in a nutshell?” Peck said after his team fell behind by 16 points in the first quarter at CenturyLink Arena.

“When the starts of games become important to them, then, I’m not saying I guarantee we’ll win, but things will change. But if it’s not important to them, then get ready to see more of what you saw in the first half.”

That would be 17 Idaho turnovers, plenty of lackadaisical play and a 28-point deficit at the break. Idaho scored 33 points in the first half and 66 in the second.

And it’s not like the D-Fenders sprung a surprise attack on the Stampede. They jumped out to a 12-0 lead in Los Angeles on Dec. 21 in a 121-91 victory.

“Teams have been doing a good job of containing us, I guess you could say,” guard Pierre Jackson said. “That’s up to us to counter that now.”

Jackson leads the league in scoring (28.5 points per game), but he was held scoreless in the first period and had eight points in the first half before finishing with 30 points.

“We know what we’re capable of,” Jackson said. “We just can’t start like that. It’s kind of embarrassing at home, to be down to a team by 30 points.”

Peck might learn a lot about his team after seeing how it responds to the challenge of facing Rio Grande Valley, the league’s top team with a 12-2 record. The Vipers visit CenturyLink Arena on Friday and Saturday.

The good news?

After an eight-game road trip and three home games in four nights, Idaho will get a chance to catch its breath prior to the weekend.

“That’s going to be a big challenge,” Jackson said. “That will be a big test for us.”

Chris Langrill: 377-6424

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