Blackburn assured me he would handle the recap since ya boy was busy road trippin to and from Dayton this weekend, but alas, it is Monday and you have no recap. We will let Blackburn slide just this once, and I will feed you the information you so desperately crave as fans of the red and blue. No reason to recap the game, you read a recap on one of the 15 other college basketball blogs you follow by now, let’s get straight into what we liked, what we didn’t like, and where that leaves us after game #1.
Things That Were Both Good AND Cool:
John Fucking Crosby ya’ll.
As expected, many of you (myself included), were thrilled with what we saw from John Crosby on Friday evening. He finished logging 28 minutes, 13 points on 4-6 shooting, 6 boards and 4 assists with just 2 (!!) turnovers. Simply put, he looked like the guy who belongs on the point – which is obviously the first time anyone has even remotely felt that way. For my monies worth where I was sitting, this was his best play of the night:
— Flyer Faithful (@Flyer_Faithful) November 11, 2017
Should he have danced after that pass? Hell yes! If John puts up these stat lines consistently I want him to be the most obnoxious person on the floor. Make a pocket pass and then tell a dude his momma stinks, tell him you slept with his girlfriend before the game after a finished layup. It’s all mind games, I’m extremely here for it.
— David Jablonski (@DavidPJablonski) November 11, 2017
Enough said. Everyone saw the Josh they were expecting on Friday night: 22 points on 8-11 shooting, 7 boards, 6-8 from the line. He’s far and away the leader of this team out of the clubhouse, both on and off the floor. If he’s consistently this good on offense the Flyers will have a chance every night.
The Beginning of the Game
Jordan Davis’ jumper about 6 minutes in extended the Flyers lead to 14-0 and it felt like we were off to the races. In the future, I would sincerely hope 14-0 leads are not squandered in the fashion they were Friday, but it was refreshing to see nonetheless.
The Kostas Heat Check
The debut of the lesser known Greek Freak was hardly anything to write home about, as he only saw 6 minutes of playing time, which basically means he didn’t have a chance to do diddly. What I will write about is Kostas immediately cashing in a long ball as soon as he got in the game, and then having the cahones to come right back down the floor and throw up a heat check less than 30 seconds later. Whether he knew he was not long for the game, or was simply feeling himself, you gotta respect it. That’s what you call leaving it all on the floor.
Things That We’re Not As Cool, and Definitely Not Good:
Seven Man Rotation
If you noticed – six players on UD logged over 20 minutes of PT, Jordan Davis gave the guards necessary blows for a combined 14 minutes, Kostas logged the 6 minutes I mentioned above, and that is it. While most of this was due to the illness of Matej, if this is how UD will be going to market this year, we’re in for some long nights. In past years, we have become accustomed to the playing rotation being whittled down over the course of the non-conference season, but that does not seem to be the case this season. If anything, this game was crystal clear proof that UD can ill-afford someone not suiting up (Matej) on any given night. If you couple that with the inevitable injury bug that plagues this program, and the (even more inevitable) game that we will land in dire foul trouble, UD could have some serious stumbling blocks with the paper-thin depth chart. Luckily this “7 man rotation” will likely be 8 if everyone stays healthy. I guess this was a long way of saying I thought Jordan Pierce would log some meaningful minutes, sigh.
Ball State’s Last Offensive Possession/Persons Last 3 Minutes
One of the main things that stuck in mind about Friday was the fantastic job UD did in their game plan against Persons in the first 37 minutes, and then how quickly it fell apart when it mattered most. As far as I could see, the plan was to get the ball out of Persons hand, and make the rest of the team beat UD, which is pretty much exactly what they did. Up until the last 2:31 of the game, Persons had logged 6 points and 7 assists. He then proceeded to score 8 of the last 11 Ball State points, including a mind-numbingly easy layup with 3 seconds left that damn near had me breaking the chair in front of me. While this team will no doubt grow and mature as the season wears on, you absolutely cannot let the best player on the opposing team bend you over when it matters most. If they execute 40 minutes of game plan against Persons, you don’t need the miracle from Cunningham.
Three Point Shooting
As Blackburn mentioned on the podcast, this is probably going to be a problem all year. X man hit his first two and then missed the next 4, Durrell went 1-3, and Kostas hit one I mentioned above. That was that. I put this problem at the bottom because it’s the least of my worries. I’m still firmly planting my Czech flag in the Matej fan club. Hopefully he’s back to 100% and ready to contribute on Thursday.
I thought this was just an opinion, but the more and more people I ask, the more the sentiment resounds: why the hell was everyone so quiet on Friday? I was obviously there, I know how hot the arena was (especially upstairs) but boy it just did not feel like the same intensity of a normal UD home game. Students showed up in great numbers and can be excluded from thinking this blurb is about them. I think the sweaters are just getting older and more indifferent with each passing day. The “we’ve seen it all” crowd, if you will. I pray for the days when those in the LOWD generation will begin to get a better shake at lower bowl tickets. Until then, we shall keep getting drunk upstairs.
(Note: I was going to write a column about this last week but ran out of time – but I wanted to give special love to the students selling out the lower bowl for both games this year, and the upper sections for the opener. The future of the fanbase has always squarely rested in the students, and it’s great to see such involvement and excitement for this team. I hope it keeps up throughout the season.)
The Baby D Believers Section
It is becoming largely apparent to me that there is a giant faction of the fanbase who thinks DURRELL is going to have a breakout senior campaign. This section is for you. Each recap, myself or KT will point out to you, The Baby D Believers, just how our boy DURRELL performed on the hardwood. I am happy to report Friday evening gave the Flyer Faithful a DURRELL we had rarely seen: a confident slasher who was selective with his shots – while of course bringing the defense we have become accustomed to. Aside from the Oklahoma contest in 2015, this was probably the most complete effort the city of Dayton has ever seen from DURRELL. He finished with 16 points on 5-13 shooting with 2 assists and 2 boards. Quality work from the elder man. If you are not a believer yet, there is still time.
As I promised, I will be connecting with a few boys who know the Hofstra team to talk shop about the game on Thursday in Charleston.
Wear Red, Be LOWD.