We are going to have some ups and downs this year. Thankfully we were able to get a win despite playing very poorly. We were all concerned about a let down following the two big wins in Orlando playing in front of a small gathering on the road against one of the worst teams in all of college basketball.
I'm afraid struggling on the road could be a theme for this team. We aren't a great shooting team anyway, and most teams don't shoot as well on the road with unfamiliar backgrounds and settings. Our fast style of play and insisting that we take the first decent shot, means we will be taking more jump shots.
This was a rare game where we should've had a favorable matchup in the post. For reasons I don't understand, we made zero effort to go inside. Jimmie Taylor only played 14 minutes, and didn't take a single shot. Kessens and Hall combined for 30 minutes and zero shot attempts. The fact that none of our big men attempted a field goal is totally baffling to me.
Unfortunately, the uninspired version of Shannon Hale was back. Getting positive production from him is going to be a huge key to this team's success, and we desperately need more consistency from him. Art Edwards had a good game, going 5 of 8 from 3 point range and 17 points. Retin led the way with 20 points, but we didn't get much production out of anybody else.
USM made a long shot at the buzzer to conclude an ugly first half with a 1 point lead. You could see the confidence in their team growing as they were able to keep it close. Credit to our guys for coming out and playing a little better to start the second half. We put together a nice run to take a 10 point lead, but unfortunately could not put it away.
We were only 13 of 18 from free throw line again. We had a 5 point lead with about 30 seconds left, but proceeded to brick 3 straight from the line to give the Golden Eagles a chance to tie on their last possession. Thankfully we contested their shot and time ran out.
Up next, we have a considerable more difficult road game in Greenville, SC against the Clemson Tigers. Tip off is set for 5 pm CST next Sunday.