With each game we get to learn more about our beloved Friars, and while Assumption taught us a lot there were still a lot of questions and concerns that needed to be addressed – after last night’s nailbiting win against UMASS Lowell, a team that was picked to win it’s conference in DII which, arguably, is actually the DII Big East conference featuring other talented basketball teams such as Merrimack College and Bentley University. With the close finish and all the upsets going on this past week from lower-division schools, namely WVU and Butler losing to DII schools, it’s a relief that the Friars were able to emerge from the game alive.
Unlike the Assumption game there was more consistency to the types of plays PC ran, the defensive sets they utilized, and there seemed to be more fluidity and energy among the offense. It was encouraging to see, and if there’s one thing to note about this team it’s that they’re going to fight and claw through every game, and don’t be surprised if most games come down to the wire – PC could emerge as a team that neither pulls far ahead from a team because they don’t have the offensive finishing abilities to do so, but they won’t fall behind and out of reach from most teams because Cooley seems to turn the heat up on defense every step of the way. People can look forward to the pieces falling into place once A. our offense starts to finish (they’re already getting great looks and creating ample opportunities) or B. we wait until the 2012 class comes in next season. Since I waited long enough for this season to start I’m going to hold out for the former and have the latter sort itself out next season. With this game we saw a lot of new things as Friar fans that need to be paid attention to, such as:
Turnovers/Free Throws: 23 and 43%. That’s f*cking abysmal for any team, but completely unacceptable for this one. 14 of the 23 turnovers came from the backcourt combo of Council and Coleman. Given how UML capitalized so well on those turnovers it’s safe to say that it’s unacceptable to have that happen in any game. Kofane had 3 but it felt like more as he has a hard time holding onto the ball once it’s passed to him, often fumbling it to get a good grip. I’m hoping that number is so cartoonishly high that it’s the exception to this year and not the benchmark, but time will tell. As for free throw, 43% feels very familiar and not in a good way. I guess this is one aspect that just might not change as fast as say defensive intensity but still, it’s call a CHARITY stripe, FREE throws – they’re points you earn without anyone in your face. This team needs a find a way to make them, Kofane especially who only went 1-5 from the line.
Coleman: He had another “breakout” game but we’ll see if the trend holds through the season. Obviously the turnovers are bad but I’m not going to turn a nose up to 13 points and 9 rebounds, as well as 3 steals and 6 assists. Solid statline but it’s one game out of a season – if we get that performance from him every night we’ll be all set and Coleman will be that hero on the court as much as he is a leader in the locker room.
Cotton: He could emerge to be the most important piece to our offense this year, dropping 26 on 10-12 shooting last night. He’s growing into a great overall player and don’t be surprised to see him starting in most games this season.
Kofane: Better, not great. Improving, which is what we need, but still gets lost at times. Still, has a killer defensive attitude. I would love to see him focus more on holding onto the ball and working on that grip so passes are less likely to turn into turnovers because of him.
Keno ball: Is dead. 6 3 point shots taken the entire game. We’re moving away from it guys, slowly but surely.
Attendance: The dunk had about 5,000 people in it, but for the most part all I could hear was the 20 UML fans cheering on their team. A big WTF to everyone – I’m sitting at the press table getting in trouble because I’m cheering, everyone else should at least be somewhat excited about the game (this is not targeted at any one demograph, because the Dunk is a melting pot of fans, but rather just a simple rally cry for the better of everyone).
Next game recap I’ll do will have some exciting features, such as bowls of clam chowder (thanks to RJ for the idea!) for performance ratings – the more chowdah you get the better you did! For now though I’m signing off – I’m tired from having to drive home at 2:30 in the morning. Word is born!