Pine Bluff Head Coach Billy Dixon would say that the Zebras (7-5, 1-0) didn't perform up to their standards over the holiday break in their 2017 Christmas Classic, as they went 1-2.
The Zebras are at home tonight for their second conference game of the season, hosting the Little Rock McClellan Lions (5-9, 0-1).
Last week, the Zebras bounced back by opening conference play with a 39-36 win over Sheridan. In the low-scoring event, senior guard Kendrick Thorn led the way with 14 points. Dixon acknowledged that they didn't play up to par against Sheridan.
"We didn't meet any of our averages in the game against Sheridan," Dixon said. "We're waiting on it to come together and work out of this slump. I slowed it down a lot in the fourth to make sure we got out of there with a win."
Thorn has dealt with injuries, but he is showcasing his toughness by continuing to lead the team in times of need.
"He's been out a little bit, and we've slowly been bringing him back," Dixon said of Thorn. "He's a senior, it's his final go around, and he's accepting responsibility. Sometimes he shoulders that burden and takes on more than he should at times. We want him to let the game come to him and just let it flow. He's a senior and he's playing like a senior."
The Zebras have a number of guys who get their opportunities, and now Dixon wants to see his guys step it up a notch and execute.
"Execution is the key word, and that we have not done," Dixon said. "We haven't played defense at the level we would like to. I'm aware of it and the players are aware of it. Today we sat down and spent sometime looking at the numbers closely. We're looking for that break-out game to get us back on track."
McClellan comes in lead by Head Coach Chris Threatt, and they'll be in search of their first conference win of the season. Right before conference play, the Lions took down Searcy 85-57. Dixon definitely took notice of that win right before conference play started.
"The interesting thing about going into the second semester, you never know who has added some guys," Dixon said. "It could be that the guys are just coming together. That's the type of victory that you would like to have right before opening up conference play. Seems like its coming together for Threatt, and we have to be prepared and ready to play."
Pine Bluff and McClellan are set for a 7 p.m. tip.