Some thoughts as a team…
- Bright spot for me was the ball pressure our guards, mainly Battle and Pringle, put on the W&M backcourt. How often have teams played against us and just tear us up from behind the arc? Granted it’s William & Mary, but it’s been a long time we’ve held a team, who had been labelled as a perimeter team coming into the game, to just 28% from outside (7-25). We held Schneider to 3-12 from the field and force 5 McCurdy turnovers. Unfortunately as the game went on, the intensity dropped down a notch, but that could be the result of 30+ minutes.
- Off the ball defense was pretty poor. Rotations were slow, they had a few backdoor layups, and our help defense was pretty bad. DJ had a huge block though on a W&M big, helping out from the weakside. That was about the only example of good help D by PSU the whole game. This needs some work, but it certainly didn’t help that half our frontcourt was either hurt or ineligible.
- We still don’t move on offense. It really shouldn’t be a surprise, but it amazes me. We rarely worked the ball into the post. I really wanted to see Andrew Jones improvement, but he never got a chance. We settled for too many jumpshots. The Tribe gave us different looks but played primarily zone for most the game. And that allowed us to just throw the ball around the perimeter until someone decided to shoot. At least we shot well…
Some thoughts on the individual players…
- Battle looks ready to go. It’s amazing how much more confident he looks, compared to last season. He came out and calmly stroked 2 long threes within the first few minutes of the game, allowing us to jump out to a 8-0 lead. Made quite a few highlights, including a dunk and an impressive steal and layup. He’s going to be a player. But only 2 assists from a PG who played 37 minutes? That kinda speaks volumes of the lack of ball movement on offense.
- Jamelle is healthy. It’s fun watching him bang it inside. Except he settled for a lot of jumpers. Wasn’t a big fan of that. He calmly stroked a three, but I sure hope that doesn’t become a consistent part of his game. I want him on the low block at all times. Forced a few shots, but he’ll come around. Hopefully.
- Danny Morrissey is not healthy. I don’t care what he says. His knees are shot. He was absurdly slow on defense against the Tribe. No way will he be able to run with MSU. He made sloppy passes, didn’t shoot well, and was burnt repeatedly on defense. He only played 21 minutes and picked up 4 fouls. I hope he can get through this season and get that step back. He was never a fast guy, but he wasn’t ever this slow.
- DJ Jackson played well. He made some mistakes, but he does everything. 9 points, 3 rebounds, and 4 assists with a block and a steal. His block on that dunk attempt was awesome. His steal was awesome as well, as he followed his shot and stole the ball from the rebounder for an easy layup. I like to see him get more involved inside. He’s our best free throw shooter. Get him to the line. He can be a guy who can average 10 points a game if he gets enough touches.
- Andrew Jones was a disappearing act. About the only good thing from his game tonight was only 1 foul in 28 minutes. However, he was never involved in the offense. I mean, he virtually never even touched the ball except on offensive rebounds. Got a few garbage points. He did an awful job of putting his body on someone on the defensive glass. That was frustrating. Especially against a team like the Tribe, who milks the clock. Got to limit their possessions by defensive rebounding.
- Stanley Pringle really annoys me at times. He gets into those streaks where he’ll just take his man one on one and ignore the rest of the team. And DeChellis lets him get away with it. When he plays within the offense (if there is one) and takes good shots, he can be a very good player. Still gets lazy on defense sometimes with his hands. Picked up 4 fouls, mostly reaches. For the most part though, his ball pressure was encouraging.
- Chris Babb is not ready. Deer in headlights. He was a liability during his 5 minutes of action. Made a poor turnover and blew a defensive assignment, allowing an easy Tribe layup. He’s got a ways to go, but Monday’s blowout should allow for some valuable learning experience for Chris.
- Cammeron Woodyard looked fairly good. He stroked an 18-footer confidently. Also was very active on defense, getting his hands on a few passes. I believe he’s going to be a pleasant surprise. Him and Babb should get plenty of playing time on Monday.
Overall, it was a decent win. I liked how we jumped on them early, but we struggled to put them away late. That game should’ve turned into a 20+ point win, but we got lazy and gave up some easy buckets on defense. We lacked that killer instinct. However, we only had 8 scholarship players. 2 of them were true freshmen and one was hurting. So guys had to play a lot of minutes. I’m intrigued to see this team with Jeff Brooks. I think he’s going to add a much needed new dimension to our frontcourt. On to the Highlanders..