Drake wanted to see his ball-handlers take the initiative and make strong moves to the basket. But good offensive possessions were few all day.
“You need to have the same attack regardless how tall they are,” Drake said. “But we sat back on our heels too much. We weren’t aggressive. We didn’t get in gaps. We ran a couple quick-hitters but didn’t execute. If you execute a couple of those, all of a sudden the zone gets packed in a little more.”
Ashford never found its groove, particularly from downtown. The Saints missed 11 of their first 12 3-point attempts and finished 4-of-25 beyond the arc.
Woods, who entered the tournament with 78 treys, was 3-of-9 shooting 3s.
“They played good D on me,” Woods said. “I’m sure they knew I was a shooter. Every time I thought I was going to have an open look it ended up being contested. I was shooting with confidence. But it just didn’t feel right.”
With Overton struggling to pass over the Panthers, Ashford repeatedly found itself in desperation mode, firing away from long distance to avoid a shot-clock violation.
“When you’re doing that, nine times out of 10 it’s not going to be a good shot,” Overton said.
Ashford did well to still be within eight points, 29-21, at halftime. Defense kept the Saints within striking distance, as the Panthers managed only 33 percent shooting (9-of-27) from the field in the first half.
Drake was thinking his bunch was only a mini-spurt away from gaining momentum and perhaps even control.
“That’s what my thought is even if we’re down by a lot,” Drake said. “I’ve got a fighter’s mentality. I don’t know anything else. But obviously I didn’t get that mentality (out of) our guys and that’s disappointing. We didn’t compete. That’s what we hang our hats on.