Friday, November 26, 2004

Jackets Beat Ark. Little-Rock 79-54

Well, defense still rules, but the offensive shooting certainly was the best of the season. The Jackets ran out to a 22-2 lead, but just didn't put Ark-LR away until the end. But let's look at the game:

1. INJURY. The worst news of the night is that Jeremis Smith went down with about a minute to go. From the radio call, sounded like a very bad injury to his right knee. He was in major agony. Evidently Elder went running the other direction in a moment of shock and Jack was calling for the trainers loudly. Smith goes off on a stretcher. To say that is disappointing would be an understatement. The Jackets had a 25 point lead, but of course that's when the Hewitt is trying to get minutes and experience for the freshman. From the sound of it, we will not be seeing Jeremis for a long time. No sense in speculating, but if it's bad, at least he would qualify for a medical redshirt.

2. DEFENSE. They got it done.....again. Ark-LR only shot 33% from the field, including 12% from 3pt range (2-17). A strong outing again. The Jackets had 8 steals, forced 19 turnovers and turned them into 22 points.

3. OFFENSE. The Jackets shot 47% from the floor, and 43% from 3pt range (4-7). Definitely better than the first two games. Elder paced the team with 23 points, Isma'il added 13, most of which came in the first half, Bynum added 11 and Jack had 10. Jack really led the team, with only 1 board and 1 assist from a triple-double. Jack had 10 pts, 9 assists, 9 boards, 1 steal, 3 to's.

4. FREE THROWS. Continues to be a concern. We go 6-11 from the stripe. Broken record time. We just need to improve here. Period.

5. REBOUNDING. The stats show that the Jackets out-rebounded ALR 44-38, not a big margin. However, the Jackets controlled the boards more than the stats indicate. Jarrett Jack led the team with 9 boards (8 defensive). Just a reminder - when Jack leads the team in boards and they are almost all defensive, that means the big guys are doing their job blocking out their guy. Many times they block their guy, and are not able to leap for the board as a result. That is how guards get a lot of boards on good rebounding teams. So I see this as a positive sign. The rest of the boards were spread out, but nobody but Jack had more than 5.

6. THE FRESHMAN. Well, The Jeremis Smith injury clouds any kudos. Before he went out, he had 2 pts, 3 boards, 1 block, 2 assists, 4 fouls and 1 to in 19 minutes. Anthony Morrow got 11 minutes, hit a 3pt shot, had 1 board and 1 assist. Ra'Sean Dickey finally got his first minutes of the season and he appeared to play well in his 6 minutes, collecting 3 pts (2-3), 3 boards, 1 block and a foul. Buck Fredrick played 3 minutes and had 1 board.

Overall a nice effort from the team. But all of this is tempered by the loss of Smith. In the post-game interview, it was clear that Coach Hewitt was shaken up about J-Smith's injury. He said the team will be fine and he is only concerned with Jeremis because he is a good kid who has really worked hard. Wes mentioned that it was "erily similar" to the timing of the Tarver knee injury last season. Coach said Tarver was able to make a 100% recovery and he can only hope it will be the same for Jeremis.

Keep the faith Jeremis. Things happen for a reason. Don't ask me what that reason is. Stay strong.