The Rebels skated to an easy 71-43 win against the Arkansas State Red Wolves Friday night after pulling away early and never looking back.
Arkansas State is bad, having gone 13-19 last season. They’re better competition than Mississippi College was in the exhibition, but it’s still hard to glean too much from this one. Still, a lot of players who are jockeying for playing time in their first season on campus say time. Overall it was mostly a struggle, as no newcomers jumped out as a major contributor.
Sy, who started at center, wasn’t magnificent, going 3-for-6 with just four rebounds in 20 minutes. He did enough as a big to separate himself though, as we’ll see the other two players competing for the starting five spot farther down this list.
He’s going to have to get better, but by making any impact at all, he might have put some distance between himself, Carlos Curry, and Sammy Hunter.
Miller wasn’t especially strong, but he looked pretty composed in the game. Obviously some of that is likely related to having redshirted last year. Miller finished with four points, one rebound, one assist, one turnover, and one steal.
Miller and Austin Crowley appear to be neck and neck to be the first guard off the bench. In this game, Miller was the victor.
Curry started the exhibition a week ago and had a lot of trouble in that game. Against Arkansas State, he played the least minutes of the bigs in competition, but he did well in limited action. Curry didn’t do anything to gain on Sy, but he logged four points and three rebounds in just nine minutes of action. More importantly, he didn’t turn the ball over at all after losing it a lot in the exhibition.
Crowley was the first player off the bench but certainly didn’t make the most of the opportunity. While he did connect on two three-pointers, and was efficient offensively, on defense he was basically a disaster. Crowley fouled out in just ten minutes on the court, finding trouble keeping up with his man all night. It’s certainly not that he lacks the necessary athleticism. He just never seemed to be able to anticipate what his mark was going to do.
On top of that, he was slow to react off-ball, which meant that once the shooter got the ball, Crowley had to scramble to try to stop him. That left to a string of dumb fouls. It’s not as if he has no hope, but he’s going to have to progress a lot and quickly for Davis to have faith in him.
Williams made a huge impact in the exhibition a week ago, but that didn’t continue into this game. He registered two points and one rebound in 14 minutes on the court. While Williams did pick up two assists, he also had two turnovers, one of which was pretty ugly. There’s a lot of competition at the backup guard spots, and there aren’t many minutes to be had behind Devontae Shuler and Breein Tyree.
These first few games are the best chance for these guys to sort out the rotation. Once the games get really competitive, there won’t be many minutes past the starting unit.
While Hunter did play center during the period when the Rebels really pulled away early, he had little statistical impact, with zero points, two rebounds, two assists, and two turnovers in seventeen minutes on the court. It’s clear he’s athletic, but he’ll need to do more with his minutes.
Unless things change, I don’t see Collum playing much outside of blowout wins like this one.