"We played like a bunch of first graders for the last seven minutes." - Frank Martin
K-state fought through a very poor shooting first half - near 30% from the field - to take the win from a scrappy George Washington team at Bramlage Coliseum. GW took advantage of the mistakes made by the Cats in the first half to keep the game close, but with the patent-pending second half surge from K-State, the game was opened up to an arm's length and kept GW at bay for the entire second half. At no point during the second half was the game ever in doubt, but after pushing the lead out to as much as 17, the team clearly let off the gas pedal, leading to Frank's quote above.
Overall, I do feel as though the team is getting better, but not by leaps and bounds. We're going to find out very quickly - with Virginia Tech, West Virginia, and Alabama all on the slate in the near future - just how good we are. Each of these teams have the possibility of blowing us out if we don't get consistent and good play out of everyone.
While I say that, Alabama goes to halftime against Georgetown scoring only 16 points. Go figure.
Good things to take away:
- Thomas Gipson. Put up 17pts and 13rebs tonight, and was really the lone bright spot in the first half on the offensive end.
- A win is a win. This was the toughest test our team has faced this year, and while it wasn't pretty, it was a win. 4-0 is 4-0.
- Decent defense. Held a good 3-pt shooting team to a relatively low percentage (<30%), even with how much we were overplaying their drives.
- Overall rebounding. 47-33 advantage on the glass...for the most part, we rebounded the ball better then GW did.
Things to improve on:
- Ball control. We turned the ball over WAY too many times by simply losing control of it. Jamar Samuels - I'm looking at you.
- Execution. We're four games in, and as Pan would say - WRITE IT DOWN. This team will struggle with execution the entirety of the season. We inexplicably get lazy on offense and stop running the play. We inexplicably send three shot blockers at a driver, giving up an easy offensive putback. We inexplicably rotate late, going for the block rather than stopping the ball/penetration. We inexplicably let a knock-down shooter get wide open in the corner of the court. These are not ability or talent issues, they're mindset issues. Their focus issues. We can get focused for stretches of the game, but can't seem to focus for 40 minutes.
- Attitude. We played very careless for periods tonight. Consecutive plays of poor offense followed by poor defense. Not taking care of the ball on inbounds passes. Relying too much on the blocked shot rather than playing solid D to begin with to discourage the shot. We also, as Frank states, did not play with any conviction once we went up by 15, which is disappointing. Good teams will be able to come back - letting off the gas pedal is a bad habit to be developing.
Player analysis (Starters):
- Martavious Irving: B overall. Didn't shoot the ball particularly well, but played very solid on-ball defense against a very capable guard from GW. It was clear the team in general had a hard time keeping the kid in check when Tay was out of the game.
- Will Spradling: C- in the first half, B in the second. He and Rod have an issue not being able to play more than 20 minutes at a time. Did not shoot the ball well in the first half, lost confidence in his shot, committed a few TOs, and was a bit of a liability on D. Second half, he shot the ball better, was ready to shoot when he got the ball, got his nose in their for at least one charge - typical for what we expect from Will.
- Rodney McGruder: C- overall. Shot the ball very poorly for what we need from a team leader. Had some mental lapses on defense. Still stuffed the stat sheet (7pts, 6rebs, 3asts, 2stls), and had what would have been the play of the game if he would have been able to finish the baseline dunk in traffic. I'm grading him hard, but he just wasn't really a presence like we need him to be, so a C- is what it is - just slightly below average.
- Thomas Gipson: A-. A double double, with 17pts and 13rebs in 26 minutes of action. He actually played what I thought was decent defense straight up, but was slow in rotating to helpside on a drive. He also has a lot of work to do in the post - not from a mechanics standpoint, he's got great post moves - but from a speed and recognizance standpoint. Several times he was just given direct lines to the bucket - he needs to have confidence in going that way, instead of taking the time to measure up and go the way he wants. I have a hard time not thinking he's the best freshman in the conference right now.
- Jamar Samuels: C. Also a double-double with 10pts, 10rebs, but should have been more like 18pts, 10 rebs. He had a hard time finishing around the bucket, didn't shoot FTs particularly well, and got pretty lazy on defense at times, especially working around screens. I would give him a D, but I just think that what we saw from JamSam tonight is going to be pretty average for what to expect. 4 TOs, and none of them were really forced by GW.
- Jordan Henriquez: B-. Didn't play badly, but made some of the usual JO mistakes we're getting accustomed to seeing. Making moves offensively that aren't that solid, and slippery ballhandling. He did do a decent job protecting the rim, and came up with 11rebs off the bench.
- Shane Southwell: B. Probably the best pure passer on the team, with 4asts, but also managed to turn it over 3 times tonight. Guy needs to be a little more assertive on the offensive end in an effort to score - he's got the athleticism and length to be a great threat shooting the 3 as well as driving to the bucket. And he's got the eyes for drive-and-dump plays.
- Angel Rodriguez: D-. I won't completely fail the guy - he didn't pick up a single TO. But, in 8 minutes of play, he managed to rack up 0-4 from the floor, 1ast, and 3 fouls. That's a barely passing grade from me. He's better than that.
- Victor Ojeleye: C. Didn't do anything spectacular, didn't do anything dumb. Made a bunny and a couple of FTs for 4pts. Only 8 minutes of time on the floor.
- Nino Williams, Jeremy Jones: INC. Not enough time or impact to be noteworthy. Gave players a breather, and that's about it.
Honestly, I think we started the game better than I thought we would, and nothing else in the game really was unexpected. Nervous to go to Blacksburg on Sunday, but who knows? Maybe that'll be the wake-up call we need.
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