Hooker had another productive performance as the Owls fell to Liberty 62-41 on Wednesday, Jan. 16.
Top scorers Hooker and Bryson Lockley gave Liberty a good run in the first half, but were ultimately defeated. The Owls trailed by just one point at halftime before allowing the Flames to expand their lead.
Hooker scored over one-third of the team’s points with 16, as poor shooting by the team left him as the only viable scoring option for most of the game, mostly from the free throw line.
In the first half, the defenses were pushing hard from both sides. The lead went back and forth as Hooker scored 11 points and Lockley contributed six, while the Owls’ defense held Liberty to a 32 percent shooting mark.
Down 25-24, the Owls began the second half fatigued as the Flames went on a 19-4 run. KSU scored only 17 points in the second half to Liberty’s 37, widening the gap between the two teams.
“Obviously that second 20 minutes has been a problem for us,” head coach Al Skinner said. “It’s something that we have to correct. Defensively, as a team, we need to be more alert.”
KSU’s losing streak extended to six games as they fell short against Florida Gulf Coast 72-59 on Saturday, Jan. 19.
Lewis had one of his best games of the season, contributing 16 points, six rebounds, and seven assists for the Owls. The transfer from Central Florida fell just a point short of his career high.
Hooker and Bobby Parker also added double figures to the board, scoring 13 and 12 points respectively.
Saturday’s game began with an early run by the Eagles, as they jumped out to a 21-6 lead six minutes into the first half. Hooker broke the run with a jump shot that sparked a comeback.
FGCU opened up the second half by increasing their lead until a three-point shot by Hooker sparked a 13-0 run and cut the lead to eight with four minutes in the game.
Lewis scored 12 of his 16 points during this run, and Hooker’s contributions confirmed his 13th consecutive game scoring in double digits.
Inconsistencies on the defense and offense contributed to the Owls having to play from behind for most of the game.
“I thought we were a little inconsistent with our offense, so hopefully as we get a better feel moving forward we will handle the ball better,” Skinner said. “The defensive end is going to be really important for us … we played well defensively for a period of time, then we gave up a couple of easy opportunities. Those things have to improve.”
The Owls will continue to seek their first conference win this Thursday, Jan. 24, against North Alabama.