The Men's Basketball team had their second and final exhibition game against Marian University from Indianapolis. Though there was plenty to wonder about pre-game, but luckily even more positives to take away post-game.
Stats and Summary
Alex Young- 32 minutes; 6-13 (1-3, 7-9) 20 points; 10 rebounds; 4 assists; 3 turnovers; 3 steals
If there was any doubt about Alex's ability to take over a game, they were silenced in the two pre-season games. He could do better from beyond the arc, but holy crap. If you missed his alley-oop from Ashworth, you should feel really really bad. He should absolutely focus on not being as wild on the ball, but his off the ball skills are shockingly improved.
John Ashworth- 31 minutes; 1-2 (0-1, 0-0) 2 points; 2 rebounds; 3 assists; 3 turnovers; 1 steal
Possibly the biggest disappointment on the roster so far, John was just a warm body on the court. He either needs to figure out how to fill his two-guard role, or Greg Rice will be taking over very shortly.
Leroy Nobles- 30 minutes; 4-12 (3-5, 6-6) 17 points; 4 rebounds; 1 assists; 1 turnover; 0 steals
Leroy's low shot percentage in this game is an anomaly. He was 1-7 inside the arc, an obvious misnomer when you consider that higher percentage shots obviously take place closer to the basket. Either way, he looked very good, and is nearing mid-season form already.
Stephen Thomas- 24 minutes; 3-3 (0-2, 2-2) 6 points; 3 rebounds; 6 assists; 1 turnover; 2 steals
Clearly stepping into his role as the point guard wasn't something Stephen wanted to mess around with. In the last three halves, he has shown us all exactly what he was so hyped up to be: One of the best point men IUPUI has ever had. He is assist happy, shows true leadership on the court, and has a smile the entire time.
Christian Siakam- 23 minutes; 5-11 (0-0, 3-4) 13 points; 10 rebounds; 1 assist; 2 turnovers; 0 steals
Could losing 32 pounds be what Christian needed? Short answer: YES! He is showing he can run the court, toss a floater in, step back for a mid-ranged jumper, and tear down rebounds at a ferocious rate. Still slightly battling foul troubles, he kicked ass in the pre-season.
Donovan Gibbs- 20 minutes; 7-9 (0-0, 0-2) 14 points; 8 rebounds; 0 assists; 0 turnovers; 0 steals
First game jitters? Definitely. Donovan looked like someone that wants to challenge Christian for time at the five. Whether he is there, or at the four, Donovan is absolutely a key to the Jaguars success. I was shocked at his ability to hit the mid-ranged jumper as well as reach over the top of guys taller and stronger than he is. He truly played like one of the top recruits from Kentucky instead of a walk on like he did against Anderson.
Greg Rice- 16 minutes; 0-2 (0-0, 1-2) 1 point; 1 rebound; 1 assist; 0 turnovers; 0 steals
Ignore the stat line. Greg looked great on the floor, especially at the two-guard. His and Stephen's speed could be the fastest combination in the Summit League. Okay, it probably is the fastest. My only complaint is that he needs to take smarter shots. Otherwise, his abilities are not in question.
Mitchell Patton- 6 minutes; 0-0 (0-0, 2-4) 2 points; 1 rebound; 0 assists; 1 turnover; 1 steal
I'm not saying he's Billy Van Senus...But he sure as hell looks like he's going to be another Billy Van Senus. Having a kid as tall and big as Mitch would be amazing. His obvious inability to dribble and pass...oh and control the ball inside...worries me. There is a lot to work on in Patton-ville.Sean Esposito- 6 minutes; 0-1 (0-1, 0-0) 0 points; 0 rebounds; 0 assists; 0 turnovers; 1 steal
Unless Sean kicks his shooting into gear, he is going to get lost in the shuffle of the guards. John isn't playing well, but he can handle the ball much better. He and Greg are definitely better suited to run the offense as well. He had better figure out a way to get into games, and fast.
Nick DeSchepper- 4 minutes; 0-1 (0-0, 1-2) 1 point; 2 rebounds; 0 assists; 1 turnover; 0 steals
Shep needs to take a page out of the Esposito book. He needs to find a way to compete with Greg, John, and Stephen, or his play time will be extremely limited.
Nick Kitcoff- 5 minutes; 0-1 (0-1, 0-0) 0 points; 1 rebound; 0 assists; 0 turnovers; 0 steals
David Mazanowski- 3 minutes; 0-0 (0-0, 0-0) 0 points; 2 rebounds; 0 assists; 0 turnovers; 0 steals
Anthony Williams- Did Not Play (Illness)PJ Hubert- Did Not Play (Injury)
1) Figure out who can come off the bench. (Check!)
Greg and Donovan stepped up huge. The rest struggled. It looks like Coach Hunter could have figured out his 7-man rotation.
2) Out rebound Marian by 18 (Check!)
While I figured this number would be ideal to reach, I didn't realize how much it would be blown out of the water. (48-24! We doubled them up on the glass! WOW! And four of their rebounds were "dead ball" rebounds!) I don't think they'll be able to double up Gonzaga, but Christian, Alex, and Donovan should be able to continue to impress inside.
3) Don't allow more than 55 points. (Check!)
I was playing with putting the mark at 50, but I figured we would score quickly enough to allow them some garbage points. Marian, however, came out playing a much slower game than I had expected, attempting to keep the fast-paced offense of the Jaguars in check. Well, that backfired.
4) Shoot better than 55%. (Nope...)
For most teams, 47.3% would be good. For the Jaguars, against a team they out rebounded by 24, it's bad. Okay, not that bad, but we could've shot 60%.
Greg Rice- Seemed healthy enough, played well but not 100%. Probably somewhere around 85% healthy. Time off before Gonzaga will be key to prepping him to play the two.
PJ Hubert- I don't even remember seeing PJ at the game. If he was there, he stayed out of the way. Still trying to confirm a medical redshirt.
Anthony Williams- Not sure if it's necessarily an "injury" per se, but Smooth was sick all week, severely limiting practice time. No reason why he shouldn't be ready for the regular season.
The Good, The Bad, The Confusing
GOOD!- Holding Marian to 31.6% shooting. I have no idea if they felt like they had to force shots, or if we were forcing shots...but we did very well on defense. Again. Thank God.
BAD!- An obvious second-half drop off. All percentages went down, total points went down, et cetera. Overall intensity went down. Not a ton, but it was obvious. Increasingly poor shot selection as the half wore on didn't help much.
CONFUSING!- How Chris Roberts of Marian didn't break something when he hit the wall. (Running full speed towards the end line, Roberts was trying to save the ball from going out of bounds. As he crossed the line, he fell forwards and slide on his side, back first, toward the wall. As this is The Jungle, the wall was waiting about 10 feet from where he began his trip to the floor. He hit the ground once and proceeded to skid quickly across the ground, smacking his back into the wall full speed. Think, hockey player slamming into the boards behind the net, but without the pads. Dude had trouble getting up. Obviously. Glad he's okay.)