Welcome to the Bulldawg Illustrated Hoops Report. It’s like spinning your tires in thick mud. When you’re stuck, it always feels good when you finally break free. And that’s about what the Dawgs did when they took on UNC Asheville Monday night. The game was close throughout the first 30 minutes as the Dawgs never really established much of an offensive rhythm. However, they ended the night on a nice run to win 60-46. Yante Maten and JJ Frazier ended with 19 and 18 respectively, but no one else hit double digits.
We’re now 1-1 on the year with Furman in town at 7 p.m. on Thursday night. We’ve struggled in both games offensively. It’s still early and we have plenty of time to round into form. We shouldn’t have to worry about JJ or Maten showing up every night. However, the rest of the team has to start putting the ball in the basket. As a team, we’re shooting 41% from the floor and 31% from three. That may not sound that bad, but what if I tell you JJ and Yante are 49% and 47%? Yes, that means the rest of the team is atrocious two games in. I know it’s only two games in and I’m not pushing the panic button. However, Derek Ogbeide, Juwan Parker, Turtle Jackson, E’torrion Wilridge or one of the new guys need to prove they can be counted on. We don’t have to have double figures from any of them. However, we may need a combined effort of 35 to 40 points from the rest of the team on most nights. And don’t forget you still have Mike Edwards and Houston Kessler getting guaranteed minutes each night. The number you need to win will vary from game to game based on how the defense shapes up. Fox has won a number of games in the 50s previously. He’ll coach according to what he has. However, this is supposed to be a good offensive team on an upward trend. We averaged 71 a game last year. We’re averaging 62 through two games this year.
Again, there’s no panic button pushing going on at the moment. We need to make sure the veterans get better each game and let the young guys get confident. Parker is averaging nine points and eight rebounds so far. That’s respectable even though he’s a career 33% shoot from the floor and it’s not changed much in two games. We know Turtle has tons of talent. Ogbeide is a beast. And Kenny Paul Geno can contribute. Get Pape Diatta, Tyree Crump, and Jordan Harris some playing time and they should figure things out. They only had 13 minutes between the three of them Monday night because the game was in doubt much of the way.
Thursday is good night to straighten things out. We’re on the SEC Network and need a crowd. The program has gotten two solid recruits this week and a true superstar looking at us. Momentum is on our side. So let’s fill up Stegeman and have the place a rocking. Let’s give the guys the support they need to make things easier on ourselves going forward. Go Dawgs!