This will be short, as I watched this game on TV and the day job is requiring most of my time this week. Thankfully, Kessens was able to play, but Tarrant and Retin were still out. Levi stepped up and did a good job of running point and adding 13 points. Shannon Hale had one of his best games of the season, and I think he may be about to have a strong finish. Hale finished with 14, and Coop had a nice game with 9 points including a late 3-pointer that appeared to ice the game. I thought Devin Mitchell looked a lot more comfortable in the game than he did against LSU.
To say this was an ugly game is an understatement. The teams combined for 26 turnovers and both shot under 20% from 3-point range. State played a zone most of the game, and we made little effort to attack the basket, jacking up 27 from downtown, even though we only made 5. I said before the season I thought we had the potential to be a good 3-point shooting team. Clearly, I was wrong. I know we don't have the strongest post presence, but when it becomes obvious that the shots aren't falling, we need to utilize the dribble drive more. Literally half of our shots were from 3-point range, and at 18% that's not going to cut it against a decent team.
We had an 8 point lead and the ball with about 50 seconds left, and somehow turned the ball over, twice, giving state a 4-0 run in less than 5 seconds. Then out of the time-out, against a 2-2-1 press, we in-bound the ball to Riley in the corner knowing he would get trapped. I like Riley, but he's not the strongest with the ball or the quickest ball-handler. We were very fortunate that did not result in another turnover. We made just enough free throws down the stretch to avoid disaster.
Up next, a Valentine's Date with Vandy in Coleman Coliseum at 7pm Saturday. The game will be televised on ESPNU.