Thursday, December 22, 2005

Hoops - Jackets Drop Jacksonville

Paul Hewitt and crew were back in action tonight after a long layoff, as they took down former Jacket assistant Cliff Warren and Jacksonville U by a final of 92-67. It was an undermanned opponent, but there was a lot to be happy about after tonight's performance.

The rust showed early as the Jackets struggled to score and looked out of synch for the first 6-8 minutes. They found some rythm though and started to create some distance, going up 41-30 at the half. The great news was that the Jackets went for the kill in the 2nd half, for the first time showing that killer instict and ability to put away teams. Tech runs away and wins by a final of 92-67

A mixed defensive outing. Jacksonville actually shoots 45% overall and 50% from 3pt range. You don't do that without getting open looks. So that's not such a great effort. However, JU did turn the ball over 24 times, 13 of which came on Jacket steals. That's good. As important is that we scored 32 points on those 24 turnovers. JU only had 12 assists on the night as well, which is somewhat of a sign of a team strugggling to move the ball on offense. So give the Jackets some credit overall.

Individually, Mario West and D'Andre Bell were strong on defense and Theodis Tarver did a very nice job with defensive position as well.

The Jackets win the battle of the boards 42-31, including 18-12 on the offensive glass. As usual Jeremis Smith and Sean Dickey do the heavy lifting, with 21 boards between them. A decent effort and not too much to complain about here.

A very nice offensive effort tonight, as the Jackets shoot 52% from the field, although only 27% from long range. The good news was that the team got a lot of good looks, moved the ball well and found the open man. Five Jackets score in double figures, so there was some good balance. They got to line 31 times and hit 71% of those, which is outstanding. The effort was pretty weak early in the game, and Coach Hewitt said just that in the post-game, but the team picked it up and found some energy.

The best team stat was that the Jackets had 21 assists on 33 field goals. That is an outstanding ratio.

Well, the Paco Diaw starting point guard experiment didn't exactly work out. Diaw got into foul trouble pretty quickly and had to sit. He got back in then quickly committed his 3rd foul and didn't see a lot more action in the 1st half. He played better in the few minutes he got in the 2nd half, but he wasn't the spark that he was coming in mid-game against Tenn St. Paco did score his first point of his college career, hitting a late 2nd half 3 point shot. He ended with 1 assist, 1 rebound, 1 bucket and 3 fouls.

Well, Paco didn't dazzle, but Buck Fredrick and Sean Dickey responded well to their benching. Buck came in and proceeded to run the team like a true PG with crisp passing and clearly looking for open mates. He ends the game with 6 assists, only 1 turnover, 7 pts (2-5), 3-4 FT, 2 boards, 2 steals. Just an outstanding night for him as a PG. Definitely nice to see that.

Sean Dickey also did a nice job on the boards early in the 1st half when the team was struggling. He ends the game with 11 pts (3-6), 5-6 FT, 8 boards (3 off), 2 blocks, 2 assists, but 4 to's. No doubt the elevation of this team will take a night-in night-out strong performance by Dickey. Good effort tonight.

How's about this stat line - 18 pts (8-12), 2-6 FT, 13 boards (4 off), 3 assists, 2 steals, 1 to. The double/double man does it again. Smith is really establishing himself as the go-to man, the clean-up man, the everywhere man, the all-effort-all-the-time man........ you get the idea. Can you believe he's only a sophomore?

A-Mo didn't look himself tonight - or at least his shot wasn't there. He ends the night with 16 pts, but was only 6-14 from the floor. He was active though, as he had 3 boards, 1 block, 1 assist, 2 steals, 2 to's. Of course if this is an off-night for A-Mo, I'll take it. How many 1-10 or 2-14 nights did we have with Marvin Lewis or BJ Elder?

D'Andre Bell had his best night as a Jacket. He was very active on defense with 3 steals. On offense though he drops in 12 points (4-7), 4-4 FT, grabs 2 boards. It would be great if he starts to find himself. He's a lot like Jeremis in that he hustles and is a real effort guy. Nice to see him coming around.

Theodis played a nice game again. He ends up with 11 points, 4-4, 3-4 FT, 3 boards, 2 blocks. He played well defensively as well.

December 28 at Air Force - could be a challenge in the slowdown halfcourt offense they will want to run. Be there or be a geometric shape.