- Doral Moore was the hero of the day. 17 points (6-6, 5-8) and 7 boards, not to mention two ice cold free throws that came at an incredibly clutch time even though the big man had bricked some earlier in the night.
- I’d also be remiss not to mention Keyshawn Woods, who filled it up for 20 points (6-9, 3-4 from deep, 5-6 from the line) but I don’t mind saying he took some really ill-advised shots that happened to go in. If I’m Coach Manning I’d run a drill where guys have to pass the ball within 5 seconds and just keep flowing on offense or they need to do, I dunno, wind sprints or something? There’s far too much ball-stopping on the offense, especially when we’re so guard-heavy. I honestly am most okay with Bryant Crawford doing that out of anyone because in my opinion he’s the most consistently productive iso driver on the team (see the end of the first half for an example) but that’s not saying much.
- Francis Alonso...good Lord. 31 points, 11-17, 7-10 from deep. To put it in perspective, Alonso, despite shooting 17 shots and 10 from deep, raised the squad’s FG% by 8% BY HIMSELF. Believe it or not that’s not the worst he’s torched someone this season, as against Delaware he had 32 points on 10-14 shooting and 8-10 from deep. I’m pretty sure he’s just really good, even though a lot of the defense on him was discouraging.
- Good minutes from Olivier Sarr, Melo Eggleston, and Donovan Mitchell. Mitchell in particular exploded for 10 points in 9 minutes on perfect shooting (3-3, 2-2, 2-2) but was plagued by foul trouble. I’d honestly already call Sarr our most laterally athletic defensive big, as I think he did a noticably good job on some ball stops and rotations.
- Chaundee Brown went from really screwing up to redeeming himself, as the freshman took a terrible shot (he probably should’ve just dribbled but he did have a clear lane to put the Deacs up 4 and should’ve dunked it if anything) but he then helped by hitting two clutch free throws moments later.
- This was the first home game where I felt I was watching a pretty good team with flashes of ugliness rather than a really bad team with flashes of what they should be playing like. That’s worth something, if you ask me.
- I was pleasantly surprised to see fewer threes this game. The Deacs only shot 14 and hit 8 for a literally beyond reproach 57% and an even better 61.5% overall from the field. I know this sounds silly but if not for Alonso going supernova, this thing probably would have been a laugher. Like I said, Alonso raised UNC-Greensboro’s shooting percentage 8 points by himself on incredibly high usage. Yes we could have defended better but I felt in this game more than any other so far that we often played good defense that was just outdone by better offense.
- Turnovers were the other problem for the Deacs, with 16 turnovers leading to 24 Spartan points.
Still, overall this is a game that I feel pretty good about with the benefit of hindsight, and if we can best Illinois on Tuesday night I’ll really start thinking that this will just be “rough year” territory and not “go through the coaching staff with a flaming sword” territory. Your mileage may vary, however.
On to the next. Go Deacs.