First, a couple quick notes about games across the country. Oregon upset G'town 57-50 with a solid performance in D.C. #1 OSU up 10 with 7 minuites left in the 1st half against North Carolina. This is a real gut check for the Buckeyes to see if they deserve the #1 ranking without phenom Greg Oden.
Ok, on to the game. Winston Salem is playing this year with "C.E. Gaines" on the back of every jersey, a tribute to former coach Clarence "Big House" Gaines who passed away last year. The Rams, who will join the MEAC next year, came in with a 1-8 record.
Pretty much smooth sailing all the way through with a 90-45 romp. Same starting lineup as Monday. Early on, it was apparent that none of the Winston Salem guards could dribble without palming the ball. Since the refs refused to call carrying on the Rams and due to some hot outside shooting, the score stayed reasonably close for about a half. In the 2nd, the Irish used their depth and athleticism to overpower to clearly overmatched WSSU team.
Tory Jackson really impressed in extended time tonight. While he needs to cut down on transition turnovers and overly flashy passes, Jackson played with typical high-intensity defense, moving his feet and harrassing Ram guards every time they touched the ball. He also had a very nice game controlling the half-court offense. Once he learns to settle down and play within himself, he could pressure K-Mac for the starting job. It also has yet to be seen if his attitude and fire will help or hurt his teammates in high-pressure situations.
Russell Carter had another solid game. Showing off a better outside shot than Monday, he knocked down a few threes and was solid on both ends of the floor.
I really want to see more of Luke Harangody. For one reason or another, Brey has not given the freshman more playing time. He will surely get more chances as the season goes on, and I would like to see him in the starting rotation before the end of the year. He is without a doubt our best post threat and knocked a few shots down from 15' as well.
Luke Zeller was better inside today, but did not make much impact on either end of the floor. On defense, he needs to keep his feet against smaller forwards. He has a great height advantage and got caught reaching out too far on a shot he could have contested with arms straight up. Zeller should get more opportunities outside to show off his shot as Kurz and LH continue to play strong inside.
K-Mac had a very solid game today. In previous matchups, he had failed to knock down open looks, but today connected on a couple threes. He also proves to be very dangerous driving the lane and hitting the teardrop a la Chris Thomas.
I like to see Gene Cross on the bench. He seems to have a big impact on the younger players and usually comes out of the huddle with a few extra words for someone.
Played a lot more 2-3 than usual. I'm sure this was to get ready for the big games in the next two weeks. WSSU did do a good job a couple times of moving the ball and hitting an open player, but the Irish closed down on opportunities very well. Hillesland is especially good on the wing playing with his hands up constantly. Hopefully that will rub off on the other defenders.
Congrats to Colin Falls on 1,000 points. He had a great game, knocking down three pointers with ease and making a big impact for the team. One major mental mistake was not running the baseline on an inbounds pass which led to a 5 second violation, but all in all a very good game.
In the 2nd half, we played primarily 4 reserves- Jackson, Hillesland, Harangody, and Ayers.
Jackson did a great job running the B offense and creating turnovers, although he did get stuffed by the rim on a one-handed dunk attempt. Hillesland will continue to get PT if he works as hard as he has the last few games. For a big guy, he has great moves and plays a very smart game. Harangody was improved from Monday's foul-laden performance. When he keeps his hands up, he is a very successful defender because he uses his body to keep post players from getting too close. Ayers looks lost out there. Not as fluid as Hillesland, he reminds me of a puppy whose body is too big for its own good. He also seems to be a bit afraid of taking control of a game. All of this should come with experience, but right now Hillesland is a much better option.
Overall, a good tuneup for the home team. Two big games coming up against Maryland and Alabama. If we can take at least one of those, there is a lot of hope going into league action.