This was pretty much complete domination from the get-go. The good news is we played much better. The bad news is, I'm not sure if FAMU could beat my old hoop-it-up team.
Justin Knox started ahead of Jemison. According to Knox's postgame comments, the coaches felt this would improve the rebounding situation that was such a problem against Mercer. Knox responded by having a very good game on the boards. Overall, we did a much better job of boxing out tonight. FAMU was even smaller than Mercer, so we had a huge size advantage.
Most importantly, we did not rely exclusively on the perimeter shot early in the game. Instead we attacked the basked and got into transition, mixing in the occasional 3, to build an 18-0 lead before the rattlers would score.
We played very good defense tonight. It's been a long time since we've held anybody to 0 for 20 shooting from 3 point range. They did miss a few open shots, but for the most part, we did a good job of defending the perimeter. As we have every game this year, we put a lot of pressure on the ball in our man to man defense and was able to force some turnovers to create offense.
Despite not scoring many points, Alonzo Gee played a good game, contributing in other ways. Ronald Steele was more aggressive offensively in the early going, and this openned things up for everybody else. Torrance played well, making his left handed teardrop shot in the lane and creating drive and dish opportunities for open shots. Andrew Steele got significant playing time, and played very well at times. I also thought Anthony Brock ran a very solid point coming in off the bench. We were able to rest our regulars most of the second half and get everybody some playing time. Everybody played and everybody scored, and the game was never in doubt. I would say we accomplished everything we needed to tonight.
The only guy who really had a rough night was Demetrius Jemison. First, he lost his starting job to Justin Knox. Then, he came in off the bench, but was taken out after taking an ill advised shot. Now, while it was a bad shot, it was not as bad as some of the shots he jacked up from the perimeter the last couple of games. Anyway, Coach Gottfried took him out immediately after the bad shot, and I could clearly hear Coach Gottfried say to him, among other things, "you have to pass that ball." Jemison replied (I couldn't hear what he said) and Gottfried yelled back at him, "YOU CAN SIT YOUR ASS ON THE BENCH!" That's exactly what Demetrius did, not getting back into the game until mop up duty late in the 2nd half. Coach Gottfried has been accused of "playing favorites" in the past, and some may point to the fact that Green and Coleman did not get similar treatment after taking the same type of shots as evidence of this. However, Green and Coleman haven't been jacking up 3's in previous games either. I'm assuming (hoping) Gottfried had a previous conversation with 'Meat about his shot selection, which prompted the agressive response. Regardless, it was good to see Coach showing some emotion and getting after a player during a game for a change. Everyone has a rough night from time to time, and I have no doubt Jemison will bounce back from this. He's a good player, and we're going to need him.
Intersting note, FAMU is coached by Eugene Harris. For those who don't remember, he was an assistant here under Coach Gottfried for a year or two after Orlando Early left. I understand he was a decent recruiter, but I was not impressed with his coaching (either here, or tonight with FAMU). He was also an assistant on those good auburn teams that featured Chris "Crackhead" Porter, Doc Robinson, and Mommadu "everybody" Nidjyu. Yes, I'm sure I just butchered Mommado's name, but I don't care enough about how to spell that idiot's name to bother looking it up. Also on Eugene Harris's staff at FAMU is Reggie Sharp. I will always hate Reggie Sharp for hitting a halfcourt shot at auburn to beat us in overtime. I was sitting in the auburn student section for that one, not fun.
As bad as the Mercer loss was, things could always be worse. As I type this, I am watching my Chicago Bulls lose to the Portland Trailblazers 109-64 with 3 mins left. Hopefully the win tonight will give us the confidence we need to have a good showing in Maui next week.
Up next, we play the Oregon Ducks in the first round of the Maui Invitational Monday night. Tip off is set for 11 pm Central time on ESPN. I will be making the trip, and will try to post an update at some point, although it probably won't be as in depth and long winded as usual. (Hey, I'll be in Maui, I'll have better things to do). Bobbyjack is also going, so we will have it well covered. RTR!