A solid win against a pretty bad Georgia Tech team at home. In the first half we handled their full court pressure with ease and got a lot of easy baskets. Ron Steels had by far his best game of the year. He was doing it all. Both Steele and Gee had double-doubles. Our big men did a great job defensively clogging the lane and getting rebounds in the first half. There have been games this year where I have posted that we didn't do a single thing right. I'm having an equally difficult time trying to find any negatives in the way we played in the first half.
We stretched the lead to 30, but Georgia Tech was able to scrap back and make it respectable. They made an adjustment in their press the second half and started fronting on guards to deny us the inbounds pass. This gave us fits, and caused a lot of turnovers. Both Justin Knox and JaMychael Green were in foul trouble, again, and eventually fouled out. Yamene played a very solid game and picked up the slack. Both Knox and Green played great on both ends of the court until they picked up their 4th foul. They played a lot of minutes with 4 fouls in the second half, and were timid on defense. Georgia Tech was able to take advantage, and that is a big reason why they were able to cut into the lead.
Demetrius Jemison came in for a few minutes, but he had a horrible time trying to get the ball inbounds against the press. I was told the reason Jemison has not been playing is " no big deal, just personnel issues." I don't even know what the hell that is supposed to mean, but I'm pretty certain it's not the full story. The guy went from being a starter last year to riding the pine this year. I'm not saying he should start, but I think he could definitely contribute if given the opportunity. If this continues throughout SEC play, I wouldn't be surprised to see him transfer next year.
On the subject of inbound passes, I was watching the game with a friend of mine who is a High School and AAU coach. He noted that none of our inbounds plays are designed to score. Most of the time we don't even call a play, we just try to get open and get it in. When we do actually call a play, it's designed to get the ball in and then run our normal offense. Most teams have a couple of plays they can use to try to get a quick score off an inbounds, especially when inbounding from the baseline in the front court. As an example, in one such situation today Coach Gottfried called a play, and it was a simple cross screen to get the guard open to receive the pass, moving away from the basket.
I've been hard on Senario Hillman at times this year, but he played nearly a perfect game today. His defense was outstanding as usual. I think he is starting to embrace and enjoy his role as a lock down defender. He also realizes that he can get some quick easy points off of his steals. His shot selection was outstanding today. On one play with the shot clock winding down, he shot from the side, his body moving sideways in relation to the goal, pump faked in the air, drew the foul, and made the shot. That takes an incredible amount strength, skill, and concentration. He is a phenomenal athlete, and if he plays as smart as he did today on a consistent basis, we will contend in the SEC.
The substitution patterns continue to baffle me. No Torrance today. I think he could have helped against the press in the second half. As noted above, very little action for Jemison even with 2 bigs fouling out. In fairness, he was not at all effective in the time that he was in the game.
My friend and I spoke to Doc Martin briefly at halftime. He is now a scout with the Portland Trail Blazers. He lives in Atlanta, and is basically over their scouting of the area east of the Mississippi river. He said he wasn't looking at anyone in particular today, but he tries to take in as much basketball as he possible can. He indicated he may have some interest in coaching at some point in the future. Doc is a class guy, and we should all be proud of the way he represents the University.
It was good to see Alias at the game today. Driving straight in from NOLA on less than 3 hours sleep makes me appreciate the effort he has put into attending so many games over the last few years.
Up next, we go to Clemson, SC to take on the undefeated Tigers at 8pm Central Time Tuesday. I suspect we will be on the wrong end of an ugle beatdown. This will be the first game of the year that I will not be attending, and I may not even be able to watch it. I'll be working on the west coast for the next couple of weeks, so I'll be relying on Alias and Bobbyjack to keep us up to speed.