I would say "second verse, same as the last verse", but that would be selling us short. Last game was pretty pathetic, and required a very solid effort in the second half to salvage the W.
Tonight, we saw some marked improvement in areas, some status quo in others, but still came out on top with a 74-61 win at Bramlage Coliseum.
Of importance was the absence of Martavious Irving, sitting tonight out due to an ankle injury. Sounds like he should be back for our next game, though.
Tonight, there wasn't much basketball played until the 11 minute mark of the 1st half. U-G-L-Y you ain't got no alibi type thing. But, here's a general analysis of the matchup tonite:
Offense was dismal in the first half - only two real decent possessions in 20 minutes. Second half was much better, showing more movement off the ball, and a little better job swinging the ball around. Still not reversing it as much as we need to, especially against a zone defense. Bear in mind it's not CONSISTENT yet, but they at least put a little more effort into it. Got us some open threes, which Will and Rod were knocking down.
I can tell already one of the big complaints of this team will be rebounding. I haven't seen a box score yet, but I'm willing to bet rebounding was close. Shouldn't have been. With a team that went no bigger than 6'9", and honestly isn't even close in the athleticism department, we shoulda been +15. Gave up too many offensive boards in the first half, but we seemed to clamp down on that a little more in the second. Offensive rebounding is willpower and fortitude - defensive rebounding is tactical and execution. Our defensive rebounding needs to get a lot better to even compete with good teams. Too much standing around with our arms up in the air, relying on height instead of putting it to good use.
Defensively, the first half was on par with our second half defense from Friday. Solid, working hard, forcing turnovers. Defense in the second half started to get sloppy. Still working hard and moving well, but many instances of overplaying. Either overrunning a closeout, or playing on the high side of the post with no helpside. Too many fouls, but I honestly think the game was called pretty tightly...I wouldn't expect to see that many fouls called in most of our games.
The key difference in this game from the Charleston Southern game, though, was effort, pure and simple. We played hard for 40 minutes, which is nice to see. Now if we could just play well for 40 minutes...
It's early, and we still ain't fronting the best team we are capable of. I'm with Pan - I'm a fan of Jamar Samuels, and guess who we'll have for our next game?
Rod McGruder - Played a solid game tonight. Double figures in the scoring column with 14, but only 3 boards. Not very active on the glass, mainly because it looked nice and packed-in in the paint after missed shots. No room for the slashing rebounds he typically comes up with.
Jordan Henriquez - Another near double-double (10/9). Plays hard, but just isn't quite coordinated enough to pull off some of his attempts. Similar to last game, probably missed out on half a dozen REBs he should have had, if he showed a little more discipline and strength in securing the ball. The half-court 2-on-2 with Gip was hysterical (followed up with a missed dunk, then a free seat on the bench), but he followed it up with a strong drive and athletic layup in the second half.
Thomas Gipson - Oh boy. Tonight we saw what very well could be, and gosh, I hope so. Gipson finished with 19 and 7, and could have been 25 and 15. He was nearly always in the right place, doing the right thing, making the right move. He gets great position on his defender in the block, and comes up with a solid move. He's a couple games from it "clicking", and suddenly comes up with a great move, starts throwing his mack-truck of a body around, and starts destroying people. I certainly hope so. Regardless, he had a great second half, and a good game in all. Once football's over, I may have a new man-crush.
Shane Southwell - Clearly, going to be an X-factor this year. Great court vision, solid defense, decent rebounder, and will come up with a block or two. But, he's also going to mix in a couple of bad shots, a couple of bad passes, and some lazy or stupid defense with it. This game was no different - 2 pts, 3 blks, 5 asts, 6 rebs. BUT, 2 TOs, 3 fouls, and shot 25% from the floor.
Will Spradling - Boy stepped up in the second half. Finished with 15 points (2-3 3P, 5-6 FT), and just knocked down open shots in the second half. Very good to see, given how miserable this team shot last week. Also contributed with 2 REB and 2 AST, and at least 2 charges drawn. May be the second-most beat up athlete at K-State after HBCK.
Nino Williams - I don't think anyone knows what to expect of Nino Williams, with his RS last year. Played solid when he was in, with a fearless three early in the game when points were at a premium, but 4 fouls in 8 minutes means he's just not up to game speed.
Adrian Diaz - 2 minutes. 2 Fouls. 1 TO. 'Nuff said.
Jeremy Jones - Good time spent filling in, again, hitting a big three in the first half when points were at a premium. Seems to be a little bit of a defensive liability, though, probably limiting his minutes.
Angel Rodriguez - You can tell he wants to recreate the FHSU game, where he scored 15 points on good outside and FT shooting. He's pressing too much, instead of letting the game come to him. It's hard to say "get into the flow", because our offense still didn't have much flow to be had, but patience is probably a better concept. Questionable shots (not bad shots, b/c he can make them) and some sloppiness with the ball, and hand-checks way too much. 5 fouls, and nearly all of them were 20 feet from the bucket.
No one else got to step on the floor.