Great recaps above. Thanks to all who posted and those yet to be heard from.
Now that’s more like it!
Maybe, just maybe, it was a severe case of the nerves (yes, Minny’s D did play well, too) that set in and led to our dismal 7 for 30 shooting performance in the opening half of play this year. You know…….new players, Big 10 opponent, national exposure, and all the rest. But, after last night you have to come away feeling this team can shoot the rock. And, if open – as was the case in the vast majority of times last night – can bury the shot. See scoring chart below:
1st half 7 for 30 = 23.3%
2nd half 15 for 31 = 48.4%
1st half 15 for 27 = 55.5
2nd half 15 for 24 = 62.5%
Last three halves of play 45 for 82 = 54.9%
What’s more, if open, it doesn’t seem to matter where the shots come from. In fact, we connected (percent wise) on more 3’s than 2’s last night.
14 for 23 3’s = 60.9%
16 for 28 2’s = 57.1%
Ball movement keyed our accuracy. We were in no rush to hoist it up. Last night we recorded 20 assists on our 30 made FGs. We played under control, attempting just 51 shots while turning the ball over only 10 times (just 4 by our guards). While 10 might seem high, remember Rider did press on occasion and presented us with a nuisance defense. We, however, found players in their favorite spots, e.g., AP in the far left corner (kind of reminds me of SC last year…but that was the right corner) and JC on the high wings just beyond the 3 pt. rim. MM dished an incredible 10 times and didn’t appear concerned that his point total lagged until late in the game. PS…he had 0 turnovers. Solid leadership……pumped while on and off the court. When seated, MS and CS were more than adequate in the backcourt combining for 15 points (6 for 9 shooting) and dishing out 6 assists.
While all the talk is of our freshman class (and, of course, JC in his first year of eligibility), let’s not forget SC, CB, and JG. Stefan is apparently being eased into the lineup (8 min last night and 8 min vs. Minny) and will, no doubt, play a positive role down the road– even if its’ off the bench. CB and JG, while not starting, did bang and exhibit more fire under the boards last night than I expected to see. Although to no one’s surprise the pair picked up 5 PFs in a combined 14 minutes of play. For reference purposes, TK had 3 in 23 minutes. Hopefully, there’s a happy median between the three. As said before, TK could, and perhaps should, be a 4-year starter. He seems to have a solid understanding of his role on offense yet, as was the case, last night, too often hesitant to pull the trigger. Maybe it my wacky perception but that was the quietest 16 point performance I’ve ever seen. Tim came off, to me anyway, a bit sleepy and non-committal on “D” (3 boards – none on offense – in 23 minutes), as well. That will no doubt change. One thing for sure, he’s not a leaper. You can continue to look for JC take center circle tips. Now that’s a leaper!
The reported attendance of 1042 was about what most of us expected from an opening night vs. a lesser/perhaps even opponent. Last two opening nights were 924 vs. Fairfield and 853 vs. Quinnipiac. In speaking to someone in the know, I learned that our season ticket sales did not take a dip with the loss of CJ, HG,and GK. If the team continues this spirited play I would expect it to catch the interest of our student body which may be looking for the “next CJ.” Way too early to tell, but they may have found one in AP. The student section was alive last night from the opening tip and filled the west end of the arena’s lower stands. They even got the L-U….L-U Cheer going with some folks in the lower level. Hey, it’s a start.