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JwgreDeux

Things I Saw - Mercer

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FINAL: Auburn 76 Mercer 74

Highlights:

Box Score: 

Screen-Shot-2016-12-18-at-2.21.55-PM_ogy
 

Well that was exciting. Maybe now, some realize the value that T.J. Dunans adds to this team. I wasn't surprised it was tight at the half and it even felt like we were going to open it up when we took a six point lead with nine minutes to play.  But we couldn't separate and in the end, Dunans found a way to get us the W. 

I'm happy to be writing this with another W in the win column, even if it was closer than it should have been. Speaking of that, was it, closer than it should have been? From my Preview

"Don't be alarmed if there are struggles, miscommunication, or other signs of regression due to the alteration in team chemistry. Losing two starters, having a transfer out, and a transfer in all in one week is quite the shake up. CBP will be put to the test as he tries to navigate this over the next few games."

I would say that we played average overall, only rebounding was clearly below average. The sky isn't falling and the fact that we won that game keeps everything in front of us, for now. I highlighted it following our sensational shooting performance vs. Coastal Carolina but the trend of giving up offensive rebounding continues. With the addition of Austin Wiley and the rumors that Horace Spencer will be back next game, hopefully we can start to improve in that area. 

Offensively, we shot OK (40% from the floor and 37.5% from three) and scored a respectable amount of points. But getting to those numbers was not a thing of beauty. So coming off of a record shooting night, our boys were obviously tempted to try and pick up where we left off, with a lot of jump shots early in the shot clock in the first half.  Additionally, when we did go to the hole things didn't go our way early.  Mustapha Heron and Danjel Purifoy both missed shots and missed lay ups, may have been fouled on some of those, but you have to keep playing. I will say that it was obvious that the calls bothered our young players. They have to let CBP take care of that and continue to focus on their assignments. They played zone pretty much all night against us, and we got stagnant at times. This is not due to the lack of "offense" or "plays," but rather chemistry. They switched from a 2-3 zone to a box and 1, and I think I saw some 1-3-1 as well. These can be difficult to diagnose on the fly, in the heat of the game, and it caused us to play slow at times. When we did get in to our half court movements, we created some nice plays around the basket. It was good to see T.J. Lang make some shots, and Dunans played pretty well also, even before the game winner went down. Heron also played well, another solid, consistent night from him, without which, we would not have been able to stay in the game. We saw Purifoy struggle for the first time, pressing to get going rather than letting the game come to him. On at least three occasions, he got a defensive rebound and dribbled the ball all the way up the court himself, instead of making an outlet pass; twice he took the shot as well, missing both. Give credit to Mercer, they did a fantastic job of getting back on defense and forcing us into a half court game.  Again, offensively, I didn't see anything I'm overly concerned about., plenty of areas to improve though. 

Defensively, we struggled to guard the perimeter. They were only 44% from the floor, but were 40% from three. If the rumors are true, Brown will be back next game to help out in this department. I don't have much to say about the defensive effort, other than our perimeter pressure wasn't very good. 

Rebounding was not good. We were out rebounded by 15, they collected 9 more offensive rebounds then we did. I've written about this before, so I won't harp on it again. It will be interesting to see how the addition of Wiley and the return of Spencer affects this moving forward. 

One thing I watched closely was the way Wiley was worked into the game, and the personnel groupings it caused as a result. The groupings with Wiley on the floor weren't surprising, but when he would sub out we saw some interesting groupings. We went super small with Jared Harper, Ronnie Johnson, Heron, Devin Waddell, and Anfernee McLemore, and another one I can remember was Johnson, Lang, Dunans, Waddell, and LaRon Smith. All of these groupings, caused a lot of time where the guys on the court were not accustomed to playing in game time situations with each other, and so naturally affected chemistry. Chemistry is needed in all phases of the game, not just offense, so it affected defense and rebounding as well. Additionally, we had an interesting grouping in the final minutes of the game, four freshmen. Which lead me to my next observation. 

Wiley got significant minutes, not just in duration (15), but significant situations. I was not surprised to see him early, but was surprised to see him as much as we did and at the times we did. Obviously, CBP believes Wiley is ready to be counted on. Could tell there was an effort to get him the ball, and he had good production.  

We all saw Dunans make a nice shot to win, and get carried off the court, but I'd like to highlight Heron on that play. He was the man in-bounding the ball. The play was designed as a high screen for Harper, he wanted to curl around it and get the ball moving towards the basket, but it was defended well. Harper came open as he came towards Heron, but if Heron had passed to Harper at that point he would have only been left with a very long fade away prayer. Instead, Heron came off of Harper and looked for his second option Dunans. T.J. did a nice job of floor spacing and shielding his man to create an opening. Heron calmly made the pass and the rest is history. Many players would be tempted to throw it where the coach designed it to go no matter what, Heron making the right read is what gave Dunans the chance go win it. 

In my opinion we must win 1 of our next 2 games vs Oklahoma and UConn, to keep discussing being a bubble team. We're capable of winning both but also capable of losing them. 

I said we had to win this game to keep our goals in front of us, and we did. On to the next one, Oklahoma on Wednesday on a neutral floor. 

War Eagle!

 

Got A Second? (#repost @the1andonlyjf)

A video posted by AUFAMILY (@_aufamily) on

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As always, these reviews are awesome. As much as I didn't want to believe you when you said to expect struggles with the personel situations we're in, you were dead right.

ETA: I like that you mentioned Heron and his ability to make the right decision when passing the ball in. I'd also point out his heads up play to call the timeout right before that after he mishandled the ball.

 

I hope we can get at the wrinkles ironed out before these next two games.

Edited by AUTigersfan89
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With basketball, being able to come out with a final second victory is huge for a team's confidence. 

Not only does It show them they can never quit fighting but it also gives even more close game experience. 

Whether you believe auburn should have won by 40 or are happy with the win, the experience from not letting up, fighting through missed calls and missed shots and winning the game at the very end will be a valuable confidence booster going into these next couple of weeks (Oklahoma and Uconn that is).

With as talented and young of a team as we have this year, I would expect us to be in a lot of close games in the final 1-2 minutes. Through my experience, the teams that have more experience in those last minute games seem to have the upper hand when it gets down to it. 

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This team still needs to do something about rebounding. We continuously get outrebounded on both the offensive and defensive side of the boards. This was another game where the other team had more possessions. Eventually it will catch up to us.

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On December 19, 2016 at 0:47 PM, Charhair said:

With basketball, being able to come out with a final second victory is huge for a team's confidence. 

Not only does It show them they can never quit fighting but it also gives even more close game experience.

With as talented and young of a team as we have this year, I would expect us to be in a lot of close games in the final 1-2 minutes. Through my experience, the teams that have more experience in those last minute games seem to have the upper hand when it gets down to it. 

Great points, especially when directed at a young team like ours. Then again, CBP has plenty of close game experience, and he transformed into a wide-mouthed frog during the final tic of that last game. Cracks me up thinking about it. Course I was in cardiac arrest so what do I know?

Edited by jamstanjr
Grammar

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On December 19, 2016 at 0:47 PM, Charhair said:

With basketball, being able to come out with a final second victory is huge for a team's confidence. 

Not only does It show them they can never quit fighting but it also gives even more close game experience.

With as talented and young of a team as we have this year, I would expect us to be in a lot of close games in the final 1-2 minutes. Through my experience, the teams that have more experience in those last minute games seem to have the upper hand when it gets down to it. 

Great points, especially when directed at a young team like ours. Then again, CBP has plenty of close game experience, and he transformed into a wide-mouthed frog during the final tic of that last game. Cracks me up thinking about it. Course I was in cardiac arrest so what do I know?

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18 minutes ago, jamstanjr said:

Great points, especially when directed at a young team like ours. Then again, CBP has plenty of close game experience, and he transformed into a wide-mouthed frog during the final tic of that last game. Cracks me up thinking about it. Course I was in cardiac arrest so what do I know?

Our coach has great experience, not doubt. He's a few years removed from having this kind of talent and potential to get invited to the dance. Not that he'll be coaching any differently (other than having more options/weapons) but we might be playing on much bigger stages with more "meaningful" games than he's experienced since UTk. I've always loved watching CBP coach, he's no coach K right now but I sure as hell would have love playing for him.

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