Unfortunately, I don't think we had any members of this blog present to give a first hand account, so my perspective is having watched the game on TV like everyone else. Well, I should say watching the last 30 minutes on TV...I had to listen to the first 10 minutes on the radio thanks to ESPN's piss poor program planning.
We trailed early in the game, and it sounded like we were a bit out of sync and having difficulties with Baylor's big men. Maybe they just needed me to be able to watch, because by the time ESPN got around to broadcasting the game, the Tide was rolling. This was a big win for us. Scott Drew is one of the hot "up and coming" names in coaching (if you look back to my posts during our coaching search, you'll know that I think he is somewhat overrated, but that's neither here nor there), and after their run in the NIT last year many were picking them to be a legitimate player in the NCAA this year. There is no doubt they have more size than us, and most would agree they have more overall talent and depth than us. We simply outcoached and out hustled them tonight, and that is why we are advancing in the winner's bracket of this tournament.
Again, we did not press them as much as I thought we might, but we were very effective when we did. We were able to get them in foul trouble in the second half which hurt their offensive game plan. Our undersized post players did a great job of containing their big men. Justin Knox got into some foul trouble, although his 4th foul which was called a block, should have been a charge.
Speaking of bad calls, overall I thought the refs called a pretty good game, but the ones they missed were REALLY bad. I've already mentioned Knox's 4th foul, but Tony Mitchell nearly got his nose broke on an over the back that was not called. That was probably my biggest gripe with the officials was the lack of over the back calls tonight.
Offensively, I liked the way we attacked the zone. Our bigs were able to flash to the free throw line and get good open shots. Our drive and dish game was there most of the night, and Hillman and Brock shot well enough from the outside to keep them honest. Torrance had another great game with 20 points and 6 assists despite 4 turnovers. Green had a monster game with 22 points. Free throw shooting continues to be an issue, and we had some key misses down the stretch that allowed the Bears to keep things interesting.
We look to be a well coached team. We adjust to what our opponents are doing on both ends of the floor, and we give great effort, especially on defense. I think we have improved every game...this was our best game thus far, and you could say that for each of our previous games at the time. All of that being said, there is no excuse for what happened in the final minute. We ran an inbounds play underneath the Baylor basket which called for a pass down the baseline before inbounding the ball. Problem is...it was a spot throw in. You can only run the baseline following a made basket. To Coach Grant's credit, he took the blame for it, and luckily we got a charge call right after so it didn't hurt us, but if Baylor scores there and makes it a game, that is an inexcusably bad mistake. That doesn't negate of all the positives, and you've got to like the way this team is playing right now.
From what I saw on TV, it appeared that we had a surprisingly decent sized and vocal crowd there tonight. I hope that continues throughout the tournament, and I will do my part for the Sunday game.
Up next, the winner of the Florida State-Iona game at 4pm Central on ESPN2. Unfortunately, we have a football game against some no-name scrub school that likely won't be over till 4:30 or so. I'll be at the football game, but I hope to at least catch the 2nd half. RTR!