Welcome to the Bulldawg Illustrated Hoops Report. It’s like removing warts with dynamite. And that’s exactly what the Dawgs did Tuesday night when they blew up the enemy in the second half to win 80-59.
While it was a two-point game at the half, it turned into a laugher in the second twenty minutes. The Dawgs opened the second half hitting their first eight shots to get a double-digit lead. They never looked back from that point on. Yante Maten finished with 24 and 6 going 9-13 from the floor, 5-5 from the stripe and made his only three-point attempt. Rayshaun Hammonds bounced back from a poor game at UMass to put in 11 while Turtle Jackson, Derek Ogbeide and Juwan Parker all finished with nine. The team shot 58% from the floor and Parker was the only starter under 50%. He continues to struggle at 39% from the flood and 21% from three. That spot in the lineup must improve.
Up next the Dawgs host Temple at 1 pm on Friday. The Dawgs are 8-2 right now. That’s the best record ever at this point under Coach Fox. They’ve played well in most all games this year other than Umass. However, that game was coming off the 16-day layoff, involved a lot of travel, and occurred while a winter storm was howling outside. While basketball is played indoors, the weather affects travel, temperament, and health. So that’s hopefully the only egg we lay this year. Plus, that makes this game even bigger. Temple appears to be a decent team this year. The Dawgs biggest problem has been inconsistency the last three or so years. So number one it’s imperative to see if this team can start putting together multiple good performances. Second, this is our last out of conference game. A win would be another good score on the season’s report card come March and 9-2 is obviously better than 8-3. Every win is critical for bubble teams. Plus, the Dawgs open the SEC schedule in Lexington on New Year’s Eve where the Dawgs are approximately 5-66 in the last 111 years. So history doesn’t bode well for us there.
As far as what Temple brings to the table, I don’t really know. I don’t really care. Generally, I know we have the best player on the floor every time we suit up. The problem is who are our second and third best options. Right now, I think you have to say Turtle is number two. Beyond that, it’s a lot of talent but just as many question marks. Hammonds, Tyree Crump or Jordan Harris are all three able-bodied studs. They need to start playing like it. Hammonds has been inconsistent game to game, Crump’s been inconsistent play to play, Harris hasn’t really been good enough yet to be labeled inconsistent. All three of these guys can be studs and we really need them to start producing night in and night out.
So we’ve got a big game Friday. It’s a weekday matinee. It’s also a reason to start drinking at lunch. Go grab a few cold ones in Five Points to get your game face on. Then show up prior to tip-off. We need the W and we need your passion. I’ll see you there. Go Dawgs!
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