Wednesday, December 21, 2011
Basketball recap: We got us a winning streak!
Whew. That one was scary for a half.
It was a tale of two halves last night. The first half was frightening. We couldn't score, were letting Mercer get open looks, and the only thing that was even close to working was Gerald Robinson's drives to the rim (he's so great at getting to the rim, and so ugly once he gets there).
The second half was an entirely different team. Robinson started to hit shots, Vincent Williams continued his strong play, and Connor Nolte refused to let us give that one away. Nolte deserves player of the game for his performance off the bench, and we'll go more on him later. Donte' Williams and Nemi Djurisic rebounded well, as did Kentavious Caldwell-Pope on an off shooting night. It's good to see the kid find other ways to contribute when the ball isn't dropping, as he got 6 boards, a block, two steals, and 3 assists to 0 turnovers.
We took over in the second half, and the big statistical standout was FT shooting, where we went 1-6 in the first half and 15 of 20 in the second. We got Furman Friday, then Winthrop and Delaware St next week, which should put us at 9-5 going in to SEC play. How we do against SEC competition, we're not that confident. But this team is growing up little by little of late.
Going forward, we want to see a lot more of Connor Nolte, and have been saying so for two years. He fights hard on defense and rebounds well. On offense, he plays smart, works the system well, is a good passer and a dangerous shooter. He deserves 20+ minutes a night. He's arguably our best front court player, which is a testament to him as much as a damnation of the other bigs. Caldwell-Pope deserves 25-30+, with Robinson, Ware, and Williams splitting the backcourt minutes. Let Donte' Williams, Marcus Thornton, and Nemi Djurisic split the remaining front court minutes as their play deserves. Donte' has his moments, and Marcus Thornton may be coming around. I'm not saying we can do well in the SEC, but I think we'll see a much improved team on January 7th when we open the SEC against Bama than the ugliness we saw during that 6 game stretch of 1-5 in late November and early December.