I'll put marginally more effort into this post-game than K-State did into their OT win against the North Florida Ospreys.
North Florida came into this game at 5-4, with no one on their team larger than 6-7, 235 (Adrian Diaz's older brother, Andy), a couple of decent shooters, and a hope and a prayer. We spend the first 40 minutes giving them hope, and making sure their prayers were answered.
This could be characterized as our worst 40 minute performance of the year, especially on defense. If North Florida had been able to actually put the ball in the basket in the first half, we coulda been run out of our own gym.
Of note, Shane Southwell sat out with the flu. It appeared everyone on the team was affected by this flu bug as well; the team had zero energy the entire game. HCFM went way deep into the bench in the first half, with everyone but the walk-ons getting minutes. North Florida kept the game close, started the second half on a 15-6 run, and eventually took the lead by 9 with about 8:30 to play. K-State made some gutsy plays - including a three by Will Spradling to take the lead by 2 with less than 30 seconds to go - to ensure we had a chance to still pull it out. During the OT session, the Wildcats finally decided to play basketball on both ends of the floor, as well as go 8-8 from FT to finish with the 11 point victory.
Good things to take away:
- A win is a win. This is the second time I've said these words this season. Not a good trend.
- Thomas Gipson's effort. Kid had a man-sized game today, and honestly, was the reason we won.
- Rebounding. Finished with a 41-29 advantage on the boards, and no one on the North Florida squad had more than 5. A little mixed bag, though, as the Ospreys did pull down 12 offensive rebounds.
- 70% FT shooting. I know it's almost blasphemous to have four things to take away from a game that we were so bad in, but had to be mentioned. To be very honest, FT shooting during OT (8-8) is why we won.
Things to improve on:
- Everything else. Our defense was mediocre at best at times, our shooting was poor (<40% FG, <15% 3PFG), and our effort was just lackluster the entire game. HCFM said it best: "We had no business winning that game today." Couldn't agree more. Our heads weren't in it, our legs weren't in it. I made the comment that "It looked like we just don't care."
- Attendance. The team has no control over this aspect, but damn it, the OOD was less than half full. That's an embarrassment, and SOMEONE needs to call out the community on it. Pathetic showing by the Purple Nation.
Player Analysis: Starters:
- Rodney McGruder: C+. Rod finished with 10 PTS, 5 REB, 1 AST, 2 STL, 1 BLK, 1 TO, which seems OK. Until you realize he went 4-17 from the floor, and two of his REB and four points were on his own misses. Played decent D, but just had such an underwhelming shooting performance, I can't give him more credit. Did play 41 of 45 minutes, so HCFM had faith in him, at least from a stability standpoint.
- Will Spradling: B+. Played his usual good D, taking at least one charge. Finished with 12 PTS, 5 REB, 9 AST, 2 STL, 3 BLK (!), and only 1 TO in 41 minutes. Honestly, he was a scoring non-factor until about 4:30 left in the game, hit the big 3 to take the lead with under a minute, and made FTs in the OT session. Some complaints about his offensive aggression (or lack thereof), but he did put up 12 FGA. He made only 3. If he had played more consistently throughout the game, probably would have received an A, but just did not shoot the ball well enough to deserve an exemplary grade.
- Martavious Irving: D. Hand-check happy Tay was back, committing 4 fouls in 22 minutes. Looked a step slow on D, constantly getting blown by. 0-3 from 3PFG, and a 1:2 AST/TO ratio. Not Tay's best effort.
- Jamar Samuels: C-. Stuffed statsheet (12 PTS, 5 REB, 2 AST, 3 STL, 3 BLK, 4 TO) in 27 minutes. Complete no-show at times. Jamar's 5 REB effort is pretty freakin' pathetic, given he was bigger and more athletic than anyone the Ospreys could suit up. Did shoot FTs relatively well, 6-8 from the line. No excuse for JamSam to only have 5 FGA.
- Thomas Gipson: A-. Made some defensive mistakes, and incorrect (note: not BAD) offensive reads, but he allowed us to win this game. Finished with a career high 23 PTS, 12 REB in 37 minutes. Only 3-9 from FT. Honestly, the only guy with a good effort today. Kid's gonna be a monster with more experience.
- Jordan Henriquez: INC. Well, we thought he stayed in Manhattan when the team went to Wichita on Thursday. We found out today that he's not in Manhattan either. Played 3 minutes, managed to register 2 BLK, 1 TO, 2 fouls. Maybe if he was wearing a red-and-white striped sweater and beanie, we could find him easier.
- Angel Rodriguez: B-. Typical performance from Angel. Out of control at times (3 TO), but came up with 4 REB and 2 AST, and made a good play late in OT following his own miss for a putback layup. Made 4 FTs down the stretch to put the game away. Kid got called for several fouls on drives by the NF guards - he needs to keep his hands up. He got caught reaching as the player went up for the shot, instead of forcing the player to come up through his body.
- Adrian Diaz: A-. Playing in front of his family, Diaz got 16 minutes, and made the most of it. 4-5 FG for 8 points, and added 4 REB. Gets the 'A' because of his performance compared to expectations. He looked much more comfortable and effective than JO on the floor. He also exhibited some prowess in cutting down the lane, and making good moves once he has the ball. Also showed he can step out and hit a 16-foot jumper, which is crucial when you're not built like a mack truck (see: Thomas Gipson). Honestly outplayed his older brother Andy, who is the Ospreys' leading scorer.
- Victor Ojeleye: C+. A defensive liability at times, came up with 2 REB in 5 minutes while HCFM was trying to find someone - anyone - that would put forth an effort. He put forth the effort - he's just not that talented.
- Jeremy Jones: C. Ojeleye, Jones and Lawrence all played for the same reason - no one else was playing worth a damn outside of The Big Gip. Jones has great speed and I see a lot of talent in him, and he has probably the best looking jumpshot on the team (he connected with a 18-footer). He has a hard time taking care of the ball, and has a lot of the same hand-check tendencies Tay does. 2 TOs and 3 fouls in 7 minutes? Need more positive production than that.
- Omari Lawrence: INC. Came in for one minute, grabbed a board, scored a putback, went back to the bench. Wake-up call substitution by HCFM. Didn't work.
- Nino Williams: C. I'll give him the benefit of the doubt, as he took several concussions last year, forcing the medical redshirt last season. That said, I am entirely unimpressed by the four-star recruit. He's not great on D, he's more or less a non-factor on offense. Played for four minutes, missed both shots he took, grabbed a board, made an assist. He honestly looks lost out there in game situations. Didn't do anything overly negative during his PT, but didn't do anything particularly positive, either.
No one else saw the floor in game situation.
We have a little less than a week off before taking on nationally-ranked Alabama (that beat this same NF team by 20) at the Sprint Center in Kansas City. I wish all of our players the best during Finals Week this week.
Go study, pass your tests, and for Pete's sake (who is Pete, anyway?), GET READY TO PLAY BASKETBALL NEXT WEEKEND.