NORTHEAST GLENDALE — There are bound to be peaks and valleys in any team's season and the Glendale Community College men's basketball team has gone from one to the other in the span of one week.
In its two games since beating Citrus College at home on Jan. 15, the Vaqueros have hardly resembled the squad that won 14 of its first 19 games and handed the defending Western State Conference-champion Owls a rare conference loss. In the wake of that watershed win, Glendale continued to regress with a dispirited 80-64 home conference loss to College of the Canyons on Saturday night.
"[We're thinking] that people are going to roll over because we beat a highly-ranked team," said Glendale Coach Brian Beauchemin, whose team's current two-game slide began with a 72-63 loss at West Los Angeles on Wednesday. "And they're not, nobody's going to roll over. We just looked poor from buzzer to buzzer tonight. …We were just not on the right page."
Glendale (14-7, 3-2 in conference) began the second half in a nine-point hole, where it more or less stayed until its offense dried up completely over a disastrous seven-minute stretch. From the 12:30 mark to the 5:30 mark, Canyons took over the game completely with a 14-0 run fueled by badly missed shots and unresponsive defense from Glendale.
One particularly frustrating four-minute stretch saw Glendale miss three attempts on one possession, commit a turnover on the next, then miss a wild layup attempt on one more possession before failing to beat the shot clock on the next trip down, and then finally fail to draw iron on a mid-range bankshot and a three-point airball on two more separate possessions.
"Offensively, I just think we looked like we haven't done anything for a long time and we missed, I thought, a lot of easy shots that were poorly missed," said Beauchemin, who got 21 points from Nikolas Rhodes and 13 from Nate Bryant. "It wasn't like an in-and-out type thing, it was like airballs.
"Defensively, we know who their guys are, we know what they run and we just lost track of them."
The Vaqueros, who shot 35.5% from the field in the first half and 35.1% in the second, while holding Canyons just under 52% from the field on the game, put together a modest 10-4 run to cut a 22-point lead down to 16, at 71-54, on a three-point play by Rhodes with just under four minutes left in the game.
But, in a play that summed up the Vaqueros' inability all night to string together offensive production with defensive stops, Brad Wyche, who led Canyons with 24 points and was six of seven from downtown, was left wide open for a three-pointer as the Cougars pushed the ball up the floor after a made free throw by Glendale.
Wyche also burned the Vaqueros for a long three at the first-half buzzer to put the Cougars up, 39-30, at halftime.
"We've got a road game at Bakersfield on Wednesday and that's our priority," Beauchemin said. "We have to get ready to go play it and, unfortunately, our frame of mind has to be redirected."