Seoul Samsung Thunder head coach Eun Hee-seok’s face grew darker after his team failed to end a 19-game road losing streak.
The team lost 75-82 to the Seoul SK Knights in the S-Derby in the second round of the 2023-2024 Korean Basketball League at Jamsil Student Gymnasium on Tuesday.
SK continued its three-game winning streak and improved to 7-4. Samsung, on the other hand, has a dishonorable record. They became the first team to lose 19 consecutive games away from home since the inception of the KBL in 1997. Samsung, which lost 19 consecutive games away from home from Dec. 22 last year until today, was unable to avoid defeat by SK, which dominated in the transition game. Previously, Daegu Dongyang in 1999, Seoul SK in 2003, and Seoul Samsung last season (Oct. 22, 2021-Feb. 6, 2022) lost 18 straight away games, but this is the first time Samsung has lost 19 straight away games.
Head coach Eun Hee-seok’s expression was grim as he appeared at the post-match press conference and said, “The players were different from the previous game. The players’ will to end the losing streak was good. It’s unfortunate that the passion they showed in the first and second quarters didn’t last until the end. I’m sorry as a coach.” He bowed his head.
Samsung has been plagued by an injury ward. Cha Min-seok fractured his instep in a cup tournament last month and was given a six-week diagnosis, Shin Dong-hyuk was sidelined with a calf injury, and rookie Jo Jun-hee suffered an ankle ligament injury. “The role of the backup players is crucial, and the absence of the players who are currently out with injuries is painful,” said Eun Hee-seok. Samsung was led by Lee Jung-hyun with 21 points, but the team was short on scorers as Kim Si-rae and Lee Won-seok only managed 10 points.
Eun emphasized that if Lee Jung-hyun and Kofi Coburn get stuck, Aban Nava should be released. Coach Eun Hee-seok said, “That’s why we brought in Nava. It’s my fault that I didn’t adapt him to our style of basketball quickly enough, and I plan to offset it with Kim Jin-young.”
Samsung, which has lost 19 consecutive games away from home, will play a home game against Daegu Korea Gas Corporation on March 23. From the beginning of December, the team will play away for nearly a month. Coach Eun Hee-seok is determined to hold on. He said, “Somehow, we have to hold on until the missing players return. We have three games left this week and two games next week, and we’re determined to end the losing streak this week.”