Miscues cost Warriors a chance to upset Houston
HOUSTON — Too many lackadaisical moments again conspired to hand the Utah Warriors another tough loss on Saturday as the team folded late to come away with a 31-27 loss to the Houston Sabercats.
Although Warriors Assistant Coach Shaun Davies was quick to point out where his team fell short, he was also clearly proud of his team’s overall effort.
“We were a ton better, but there were just too many moments…that took us back a bit,” Davies said. “So there’s just a couple of moments where we could have gone away, but let them stay in it close. I’m happy that the boys showed up, physically. We just need to win those moments.”
One of the key moments came late in the first half, where an errant turnover deep in Houston territory gave the Sabercats possession, which in turn accumulated into a try and a 17-17 tie at the break.
Davies focused on that particular moment at the outset of his postgame comments, noting how turning a probable 24-10 lead into a 17-17 tie at the half proved massive in the final outcome.
Despite the tough ending of the first half, Utah came out firing in the second, taking advantage of an issued yellow card to Houston to score a try in the 47th minute. Crossing the try line was Joe Mano with Lance Williams doing most of the work by virtue of a brilliant run and assist for a 22-17 lead.
Utah appeared poised to add on to the lead until a massive miscommunication receiving a Houston kick led to a turnover and a relatively easy Houston try in the 56th minute.
“We knew possession was key, and we gave up too much possession to Houston,” Mano said. “And it led to them scoring too many tries.”
Suddenly down 24-22, the Warriors fought back hard for a late score before giving up a try late to Houston as the home team surged ahead 31-22 with just two minutes remaining.
But true to form, Utah didn’t fold from there, scoring a try on the game’s final possession to receive a couple of bonus points given the 31-27 outcome.
“I’m proud that we’re showing up, but we all have standards, and we need to meet those standards,” Davies said, summing up what he saw throughout the match. “If we don’t meet those standards — it doesn’t matter if we have a playoff run or not — we just have to meet those standards because we know we’re (really) good and we know what we can be.”
With the loss Utah falls to 3-10 on the season and will look to rebound versus Austin at home next Saturday. Attending fans to next week’s game can likely expect Utah to continue working to improve despite its current record with postgame play an impossibility.
“I can see the progress. The boys can see the progress and now we just have to get over the hump,” Davies said. “The fact that the boys are still extremely motivated…We’re a bunch of fighters and now it’s just winning those moments.”
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