Last night's win was a big one. Southern Miss will probably finish in the top four of the C-USA this season, and while that conference is not a good one, it gets some publicity because of Memphis. Southern Miss will probably finish with an RPI somewhere around th 60-70 range, and that could be helpful when the selection committee is looking at our resume (I can't figure out how to make an accent mark on this computer- you get the idea). In short, the Rebels played good basketball but saw the Golden Eagles making everything they put up for a sizable portion of the game. Luckily, we were able to overcome their luck and come away with the victory. On to the bullets...
- Generally, the Rebs played well offensively. There were very few times that we were passively passing around the perimeter. Warren and Company did have a few possessions that appeared to lack direction, but generally our players knew their roles.
- During their stretch of roughly three hundred consecutive made baskets, Southern MIss had a bit of luck but also benefited from some poor defensive play by the Rebels. Southern Miss put us into a difficult situation in terms of foul trouble, so we weren't able to keep our best players on the court all game. We can't continue to let this happen. Terrance and Reggie have to be more disciplined defensively. Each finished with four fouls.
Read after the jump for individual analysis.
- Zach Graham had a poor day shooting (4-13), but he got to the line four times and was 8-8. When the shots aren't falling, it's one thing. When you're taking stupid shots, it's another. From what I could see, Graham was more the former than the latter. Graham finished with sixteen points, three boards, two assists, two steals, one turnover, and only two fouls.
- Chris Warren extended his streak of twenty point games to three and has topped the goal in four of the first six games of the season. If he can keep up this type of scoring, we could win a lot of games. We were able to give Warren nine minutes on the bench, and I think it really helped him. He rarely appears dogged tired, but Warren was almost "fresh" looking with two minutes left in the game. It's so helpful to him that Dundrecous Nelson has stepped it up. Warren did have four turnovers on the night, but he also had four assists. For a scoring point guard, a one to one ratio isn't terrible.
- Speaking of Nelson, he had a good day doing everything other than controlling the basketball. The freshman point guard drew sixteen minutes of playing time and scored eleven points off the bench. He turned it over four times, but he appears to do well defensively and should continue to see around fifteen minutes a game. He's a great sub for Warren. Nelson did attempt a silly, silly twenty-six footer with a hand in his face, but other than that his shot selection was pretty good.
- Terrance Henry dominated the game early, scoring (eight points) and rebounding (seven boards) at will but then got into foul trouble and finished with only 21 minutes. It's so frustrating to see such a great player have to spend so much time on the bench.
- Reggie Buckner was the same, though he only attempted three shots to Henry's nine. He had three boards and only one block in his 21 minute night.
- Nick Williams finished the night with a workman-like thirteen points on five of nine shooting. He led the team with three offensive boards and stayed on the court for 32 minutes with ZERO fouls. I'm sorry for those of you who are sick of me gushing over Williams. He's just a reliable guy who doesn't do stupid stuff on the court. I figured that he would be an Eniel Polynice replacement before the season began. It turns out he's more like a Murphy Holloway replacement.
- Trevor Gaskins drew the start and continued to impress me with shot selection. Despite playing twenty-three minutes, he only attempted six shots, making three and scoring six points. I like When Gaskins is scoring, but I also like that he is finally realizing that he doesn't have to shoot whenever he touches the ball. Trevor appears to be a much improved player this year.
- Demarco Cox was 2-3 shooting and drew two other shooting fouls. He was only 1-4 from the line and will need to improve on that, but it's nice to have a player on the low post that we can give the ball with his back to the basket and count on him to make something happen offensively. Cox is quickly showing that his nine minutes per game thusfar are earned.
- Steadman short had a difficult game, registering four fouls, but he did play for eighteen minutes, giving some other players in foul trouble a break without totally ruining it for us.
As for Southern Miss,Larry Eustachy has a good team led by R.L Horton (20 points on the night) and Gary Flowers (19). The Rebs were up by thirteen at one point near the end of the half and allowed Southern Miss to claw their way back into it before finally taking the lead back with three minutes remaining in the game.
Those are my thoughts. What are yours?