With his team battling a mix of injury and illness, Quincy University men's basketball coach Ryan Hellenthal gave the Hawks a day off in the middle of the week.
That's quite unusual at this stage of the season, but a quirk in the Great Lakes Valley Conference schedule afforded Hellenthal the opportunity to give his guys an extra day of rest.
He hopes it served as a day of reflection as well.
Quincy didn't play Thursday night, getting the rare bye because the league has an odd number of teams. Beginning with Saturday's home game against Illinois-Springfield, the Hawks will play four games in eight days as the league added Martin Luther King Jr. Day games to the schedule this season.
Considering those games are against Central Division foes who have a combined winning percentage of .691, nothing will be easy.
Face it, nothing has come easy for the Hawks, who are 4-10 overall and 0-5 in the GLVC.
That's where pride takes over.
Quincy suffered a 40-point loss last Saturday to Maryville, a team it will face Monday at Moloney Arena in St. Louis, and it went down as one of the worst losses in the last 30 years.
That's history being made the wrong way, and it feels like a punch in the gut to a guy like Hellenthal, who takes pride in being from Quincy, coaching in Quincy and seeing this community fill the seats in Pepsi Arena.
Hellenthal and his coaching staff, which includes former QU guard Von Washington III and former QU athlete Mike Kindhart, reiterated those points to the Hawks in the moments after the 83-43 loss to the Saints and again throughout the week.
It was the message being delivered time and again Thursday when they got back on the court.
As much as Hellenthal wants the Hawks to take pride in the program, he wants them to play with pride for each other.
During Thursday's practice, he implored the Hawks to have each other's back. Be there to help defensively. Go after an offensive rebound with gusto in case a teammate misses a shot. Push each other to communicate louder and longer than ever before.
Those aren't designed plays. Those are effort plays.
Moreso, those are pride plays.
To expect the Hawks to make a play for a spot in the eight-team GLVC Tournament is asking too much, considering they are at the bottom of the point ratings.
But it's never too much to ask them to play with pride.