THE RESULT | GETTING CLOSER | I missed the first few minutes of the game, apparently the portion of the game where the offense consisted of throwing up 3-point attempts without much else of a plan. I started the game when the offense and defense settled down a bit and started to get into a groove. Had a 10 point lead pretty much throughout the game, although it got a little close at times, but extended it to a 20 point lead by the end of the game. This was probably the most even game that the team has played thus far this year. Baby steps.
Head Coach Pat Knight
On underclassmen having a good game: John started out hot, and Bean got his shot back and you need that against a zone. You can come up with all these great zone defenses, but you have to hit your shots. Tonight, we hit our shots. Mike Davis has been solid every game. Jaye Crockett had some good moments tonight , and he's learning very quickly.
MVP | PG Javarez Willis This easily could go to SG David Tairu again, who led the team in scoring for the second straight game. When Tairu's shot is on, it's on. Willis had his best game of his very young career. In 18 minutes Willis had 18 points, 3 assists and 1 turnover. Not bad.
I thought the post game thoughts table looked awful on narrow view on the front page, so it's after the jump.
POST GAME THOUGHTS
Georgia Southern is a Missouri-lite, in that they like to press, like to try to force turnovers, and have a ton of really quick players. There were times that the team wasn't careful with passes and I want and expect that senior PG John Roberson would do a better job of not throwing the ball away, but in a game that had a ton of possessions, the team still only turned the ball over about 17% of the time, which is actually pretty good (I think the national average is around 32%). Even then, you don't expect Roberson to have 5 turnovers in a game and only 6 assists. Roberson did score 17 points, and since the second half of the Liberty game, he's shooting pretty well, but he's not taking much other than 3-point shots (9 shots total, 6 of them were 3-point shots). SG David Tairu continues to impress (22 Pts; 8-12 FG) and as mentioned above, when his shot is on, he's a really fun player to watch. Like a lot of players, I don't want Tairu to fall in love with his 3-point shot, but I don't think that's in his nature. PG Javarez Willis didn't get hot until late in the game, but I really like his ability to score, despite the fact that when he's in, he's not forcing his shot. I think Willis is still trying to figure things out offensively, but he and the aforementioned guards are really starting to press defensively. SG Mike Davis will never fill up the boxscore, but he plays really hard and I've said this before, but I think it warrants saying again, I'm starting to see his value despite being a guy that struggles offensively at times. You can't have a team full of Mike Davis type of players, but having 2 or 3 is a good thing. SG Jamel Outler looks like a Tairu-starter-kit (13 Pts; 3-4 FG; 5-6 FT) and isn't afraid to take the ball to the basket. Outler will be very much up-and-down, but he can play.
It's strange to see SF Mike Singletary struggle to find a role on this team. For the second straight game, he's not scoring in double-figures, scoring only 9 points, but he did grab 7 rebounds. Singletary's offensive game can be inconsistent, seemingly largely dependent on who is guarding him offensively. Maybe the best thing that's happening with this team is that they're leaning on other players to score rather than lean on an inconsistent scorer. PF Robert Lewandowski didn't see a ton of minutes and I somewhat forgot about what he did and was surprised that he had a really good night (12 Pts; 5-7 FG; 8 Reb; 1 Ast; 2 Stl; 1 Blk). SF Jaye Crockett is just a ball of energy. If you haven't had the pleasure of watching Crockett, you're missing on a fantastic player. He still fouls too much being over-aggressive, but the kid can play. Crockett only scored 6 points, but 2 of those points came on a beautiful alley-oop (can't remember who delivered the pass) just rising above the rim. After a couple of pretty good games, SF Brad Reese had a very quiet game scoring, but he did grab 7 rebounds and had 6 assists, which led the team. I appreciate, like Singletary did against Liberty, Reese's ability to find ways to contribute.
Things have improved. The team shot 82% from the free throw line, forced 18 Georgia Southern turnovers, and the team as a whole shot 59% from the floor while limiting the Eagles shot 41%. There were some uneven points to this game, but that's not unexpected playing against a pressing team. This weekend, the team travels to Galveston to take on the St. Mary Gaels on Friday night and I'm not expecting good things, but I could be wrong. This team could really use PF D`walyn Roberts and PF Paul Cooper as I see this team getting beat pretty bad against a team that has legitmate post-players. From everything that I've read, Roberts is day-to-day, while Cooper has at least a couple of weeks before he gets in a game.
If this team can just figure out how to solve the rebounding issue, in particular the offensive rebounding issue, then this team would win by 20 points a game against lesser opponents.