Thoughts, Observations, and a Shot of Vodka…

Anyone else think Folarin Campbell got the message? His 16 points and steady, spirited play was a mirror image of Campbell’s Sunday performance. Other interesting items from Mason’s tougher-than-expected 57-54 win over Hampton: Will Thomas continues his rollercoaster ride at the foul line. An ohfer-two brings Thomas to two for his last 11 from the stripe, including bricking important late free throws against both East Carolina and Hampton. This “run” is on the heels of making 24-28 in his previous five games.

Bottom line: he will continue to walk to the stripe late in close games. Right now, he is a box of chocolates.

Also, Larranaga continues to get uneven performances out of his freshmen. Last night Vlad Moldy Vino played well off the bench after seemingly disappearing the past two games. VMV switches places with Cam Long, who was very good for a couple of games but out of his element last night.

They are freshmen and that is to be expected. Anthony Grant has the same issue in Richmond. His freshman big man Larry Sanders has moved from nonexistent into the starting lineup for VCU, replacing an injured Wil Fameni. Sanders cemented his place in the lineup last night with a seven rebound, four blocks performance against The Tribe. (VCU won 71-57.)

Five seasons ago, a thin freshman named BA Walker replaced an injured player for VCU. That worked out pretty well.

***

Name to remember in January: Danny Sumner of William & Mary. Sumner scored 13 points and grabbed six rebounds in 25 minutes for the Tribe in last night’s loss, but it was how he played that warrants merit.

Sumner (insert Police joke here), showed a variety of low post moves and even stepped out and nailed a three. He looked comfortable on the floor and showed a bit of fire. With David Schneider half-dead from playing extended minutes against a tough VCU defense, Sumner asked for the ball and wasn’t hesitant about taking control. He will be a good one.

Tribe headman Tony Shaver mentioned post game that Sumner has always been gifted offensively but has been slow to grasp the Tribe’s intricate defensive schemes. I didn’t notice Sumner’s defense, but if Tony Shaver (a smart guy) says it’s a matter of defense and Sumner played 25 minutes, I’ve got a feeling we’ll see more of the player. Even I can do that math.

***

I’ve never been a moral victory guy. You win, or you lose–that’s how (and why) they keep score. But I have to give it up to Georgia State’s gritty performance against Georgia Tech last night. The Panthers lost 72-67 and didn’t do anything particularly well except compete. Turnovers were even, rebounds basically even, Tech shot well in the second half and State didn’t (especially from the arc).

I watched the second half of this game–I’m beginning to love ESPNU–and the Panthers are starting to assimilate to how Rod Barnes wants them to play: hard every trip down the floor. Rashad Chase looks reinvigorated and a light seems to have been turned on for Kevin Lott. Of course, there’s also Lennie Mendez.

Georgia State had too many empty possessions late in the game–fatigue and a young point guard has a lot to do with that–but you can see what’s going on down there. I still say the Panthers will wear road colors on Friday for the CAA tourney, but I’m also saying they will beat a top three team at some point.

***

Why is James Madison good? Why 6-1? Why are they different? Point to an easy schedule or whatever. I don’t care. Here’s what I want you to chew on today: Juwan James was the focal point of the Dukes’ entire team for two years. Everything revolved around James. And that’s insulting the word “everything.”

This year, the Junk Yard Dog is fifth on the team in minutes played and fourth in shots taken.

Keep chewing.

***

More on Hofstra later (when we’ll also talk up tonight’s games), but Tom Pecora has got to be pulling out his hair.

Hometown scoring aside in Hofstra’s 73-71 road loss to Fordham, six assists and 27 turnovers? 28% FG in the first half and 67% in the second half? I’d pull my hair out.

The constant? Antoine Agudio, who dropped 36 on Fordham. You know he’s getting the ball. You know he’s shooting the ball. Still, he is unstoppable.

***

I put this at the bottom on purpose: I was right. The Ub performed decent enough and dropped a closie to SoWeMoSt. (No wonder they changed that.) Finally the Seahawks played a tight second half and this game represents progress even though it was a loss.

TJ Carter won’t shoot 7-21 every night and Domonique Lacy will play more. While giving up 33 while scoring 8 over the last 11 minutes of the first half is wretched, the Seahawks are headed in the right direction.

They’ve earned a lower case d for now and will be referred to here as The dub.

Side note: Lacy will be the newcomer of the year. Book it.

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~ by mglitos on December 6, 2007.

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