I hadn’t seen that Whittington was being suspended, so when Trawick was introduced my initial thought was that we are going to need Starks and someone else to step up. My second thought was that we have no bench, so we were going to only be playing 6 or 7 people. What a difference a game makes. Luckily we had a number of people step up and our lead ballooned to a point where we were able to play a number of people who rarely see the floor.
Our defense remained on its game while our offense suddenly reappeared. And fortunately, it was a real offense, with back door cuts, give-and-goes, the whole nine yards. To be fair, it felt like our success was in part due to the lack of an offense by St Johns – one person in my section joked thatSt Johns had been scouting us too long and was running our offense from the last few games. I think it was actually a case of St Johns playing NYC basketball – try 1-on-1 isolation and if that doesn’t work, pass it to the next person who will try 1-on-1 basketball until they force a shot. But a game like this is just what the doctor ordered – up by 20 points for most of the game – and the 16 point margin of victory was actually skewed down by the fact that they hit 3 3-pointers in the last 2 minutes.
Porter (19 pts, 5-11 fgs, 14 rebs, 2 asts, 3 stls) – A great game, almost had a double-double in the first half. Did all sorts of Porter-ish things – rebounds, put backs, steals. Also was great cutting to the basket in the Princeton office.
Whittington (DNP) – Did not play for “breaking team rules”. JT3 wouldn’t say whether he would be playing in the next game. I wonder if this is the type of thing that gets Whittington on track or pushes him to declare too early for the NBA.
Lubick (11 pts, 5-8 fgs, 6 rebs, 3 asts, 3 blks) – Player number 1 who stepped up when we needed them. Started out the game well, looking for his offense, passing on a number of give and goes. I also am a big fan of the in-bounds play where he inbounds and lobs into Porter, catching the defense sleeping.
Starks (17 pts, 7-13 fgs, 2-3 3pts, 4 rebs, 2 asts) – Player number 2 who stepped up when we needed them. 17 points, 2-3 from 3. Was aggressive and efficient.
Hopkins (1 pts, 0-4 fgs, 1 rebs, 1 asts) – Clearly regressing to the player I thought he would be at the beginning of the year. I mentioned to the guy I went to the game with that Hopkins often thinks that he is the guy that should be taking the shot and rarely is. Had a bad game, even by his standards Only played 10 minutes, had a HORRIBLE jump shot (why do our big men insist on taking jump shots when they can’t make layups?). One person in our section said, “well at least we know he plays defense, he had 5 fouls.” Technically, that’s probably the opposite of the case, if you play good defense then you aren’t fouling out in 10 minutes – particularly against big men that aren’t terribly good on offense.
Trawick (4 pts, 1-3 fgs, 0-2 3pts, 0 rebs, 1 asts, 1 blks) – Started the game in place of Whittington. D’Vauntes actually played more minutes. Didn’t do much to differentiate himself. There is a chance that DSR could start the next game.
Ayegba (2 pts, 1-1 fgs, 3 rebs, 1 asts) – Even with Hopkins in foul trouble and Whittington not playing, he only got 14 minutes of playing time. Sounds about right.
Smith Rivera (8 pts, 3-11 fgs, 0-2 3pts, 10 rebs, 4 asts, 2 stls) – 8pts, 10 rebs and 4asts in 26 minutes sounds like a good game, but the 3-11 was the thing that stood out to me while the game was going on – I still don’t think I’ve seen what I would call a good game from him yet. He forces too many things still – in fact, one of his shots got blocked twice – not sure I ever saw that before. But the asts were good – especially when Starks doesn’t pass. I can’t decide whether its impressive or pathetic that our back up point guard has more than twice as many rebounds as our two centers combined.
Bowen (5 pts, 2-4 fgs, 1-1 3pts, 1 rebs, 1 asts) – Played more minutes than usual. Near as I can tell – he can do two things – jump and shoot 3s. He did both in this game with a sweet dunk where it looked like he jumped from one side of the lane, dunked and didn’t land until the other side of the lane (he also had an impressive dunk against Texas that I think I forget to mention which is one of the bigger oversights I’ve had).
Caprio (0 pts, 0-0 fgs, 3 rebs, 1 asts, 1 stls) – Actually played a minute in the first half, but somehow only ended up playing 3 minutes total. Has no shot of playing during a meaningful minute of play, but was active.
JT3 – I’m not sure what Whittington did, but I’m a fan of any time a coach suspends a player (even if it is my second favorite player on the team) – gets everyone on the same page about what needs to be done to be a successful team. Meanwhile, he got us playing an actual offense and we started out with good defensive intensity. Still not sure why he plays Porter so much during blowouts – unless, like me he was hoping Porter would score 20 points. But in general, hard to complain about anything.