Overall, that was a pretty good effort. Certainly much better than what we saw last week in Orlando. Don't get me wrong, I'm never going to settle for a moral victory, but the effort was at least there tonight.
First, let's take care of the elephant in the corner: Andre Gilbert's blunder at the end. There is absolutely no excuse for that. Young baseball players are taught to always know where they're taking the ball before it's hit, young basketball players are always taught to know the situation, including score and time, etc. Gilbert had plenty of time to stand there and figure out what the situation was, and there is no excuse for not knowing the team was down three and did not have time to go for an easy bucket and foul.
Now, all that said, Andre Gilbert did not lose this game for us. Yes, he made a mistake when we had an opportunity to win, but his was far from the only mistake in the game, it was merely the most noticeable because it was the last. We had three players miss the front end of one-and-ones. Other players turned the ball over. We couldn't get the rebound that would have taken the ball away from Leunen, despite three tries. Let's just be happy it happened at this time of year, rather than in March when it could cost us something much more important.
There are plenty of mistakes we could point out, but there was also plenty of good play, too. This is a really young team, and they're going to make their mistakes.
Props to Michael Beasley, again. He played well, again scoring a lot of points on a minimal number of shots. I tend to agree with Fran Fraschilla that we may need to emphasize him a little more, especially in the first half, but we seem to be forcing the other guys not to rely on him too much. That's a good thing in the long run.
Michael Beasley Watch: 24 points, 12 rebounds
Some positive news...we only committed 15 turnovers. That's a significant improvement over the first few games. We got double-digit games from Jacob Pullen, Clent Stewart and Andre Gilbert. This team can go places, but it's going to take time.
The next two games have now become fairly crucial, considering it's still December. Notre Dame is not a great team, but they aren't bad, either, and we'll be playing in New York City. Then we get a Cal team that beat us by 30 last year. We need to pick those up, then get the Xavier game to boost our tournament resume.
Whatever happens, we'll always carry the banner high!