There was some very bad basketball played in front of a small, eerily quiet crowd at Coleman tonight. AAMU is a horrible basketball team, and if not for missed layups and a few questionable calls, they probably should have beat us. They aren't very well coached either. The game was closer than the final score indicated. It was a 2 point game in the final 3 minutes. Frankly, we would have been better off if we lost. It would either serve as a major wake-up call or get us one step closer to firing Gottfried. AAMU doesn't have a single player that should even make our roster.
We had more size, speed, and athletic ability, but managed to play poorly enough to allow the Bulldogs to keep it close. Our offense was horrible, especially against the zone. We committed a ton of unforced turnovers. Despite the low score, we really didn't play good defense either. AAMU missed a lot of open shots, including some key layups late in the game. We still can't make a free throw. In transition, we were sloppy with the ball, made poor decisions, and threw the ball away. I don't even know where to start regarding our half court offense. It was so bad, Senario Hillman even ran the point one possession. Well, by running point I mean he dribbled at the top of the key while everyone else stood around until the shot clock got down to about 10. Normally, that was Ron Steele's job.
What infuriated me the most was that we seemed to be just going through the motions at both ends of the court. Not once did a player or coach appear to get fired up. At some point, I would like to see someone step up and say, "Hey, we're struggling with AAMU damnit! Let's put this game away." A little extra hustle on both ends, force some turnovers, attack the basket, get a few dunks, and this game could have easily been a blowout, but we never stepped it up a notch. If we would have been playing an even halfway competent opponent tonight, we get killed.
The issue of fatigue from the Hawaii trip was brought up in the post game press conference. Coach Gottfried said, "I'm not going to make excuses," but then proceeded to do just that by adding, "it is a tough trip, it's physically tiring and it's tough on the body..." Bullshit. That shouldn't have ever been brought up. The last game out there was last Wednesday, almost a week ago. They've been home since Thursday, Friday at the latest. I had an overnight flight Thursday night from the same place, and I didn't even have a nice chartered plane to sleep on, and from an energy standpoint I could have played tonight with no problem. Yes, it's tiring and it takes 2-3 days MAX to get back on track, but there is no way that was an issue tonight. I flew back, went to the Iron Bowl, rested up Sunday, and was perfectly fine by the time I went to work Monday morning. These guys are 10 years younger than I am. I'm surprised Gottfried didn't use the "AAMU is a good team, they are picked to win the SWAC this year," excuse. I'm tired of hearing him pull excuses out of his ass after every piss poor performance, which seems to happen every time we step on the court lately.
Once again, I am having a very difficult time finding one aspect of the game at which we performed at a positive level. I hate to be so pessimistic, but I've been to every game this year and I haven't seen anything to give me much hope for this season at this point. All of that being said, a win is a win, and I suppose at the end of the day, that's the bottom line.
Up next, the ragin cajuns from Louisiana Lafayette come in for a rescheduled game Sunday at noon. The game was originally scheduled for 6 pm, when the football team will be playing for the SEC championship, but the cajuns were kind enough to agree to move the game to Sunday. For some inexplicable reason, the men are playing noon and the ladies will play in the second half of the double-header. It would have made more sense to let the ladies play first, but I'm not sure it makes much of a difference. Honestly, I wished they would have just left it Saturday night, so I would have a good excuse not to go.