Commentary: Hoopsters Improve

HI.com basketball writer Don Oglesby thought the Hogs showed plenty of bright spots in a 72-67 loss to Memphis.

What a difference. The Hogs, who looked totally inept against OSU Monday played well enough to win against a good Memphis team. OK, so maybe Memphis doesn't play defense like Oklahoma State, but it was great to see the kids with their heads up, playing their tails off after a devastating loss. Somehow tonight's loss seemed almost like a win. Funny thing, though. Not only was the performance a mirror (reverse) image of Monday's game, but the players who had the worst games Monday (Jones, Ferguson and Baker) had really solid games tonight. And Nichy, who had a good game Monday, had a terible night. I'm wondering if he may have been sick. About the only thing that was similar to Monday's game was that both Modica and Lane had prety solid games, I thought.

If Mike Jones could play somewhat like that every night it would be such a lift to this team, which struggles to score points. We don't expect him to hit 7 of 10 and 4 of 6 threes every night, of course, but he played with much more energy and confidence tonight.

Eric Ferguson, who had a nightmare game Monday had arguably his best game as a Hog tonight... under control, making mostly good decisions, looking first to pass, but scoring when the opportunity presented itself. And a couple of his drives to the basket were eye poppers.

Carl Baker had his best game in three years. He was actually looking to score, made a couple strong drives to the hoop and converted and hit a perimeter shot or two as well as hitting his free throws. He played solid defense as almost always, and grabbed a couple offensive boards... we didn't get many of them tonight.

I guess we can expect this team to be up and down. For their confidence, though, they need to come out on top against one of these good teams like Illinois and Tulsa and Memphis. This one tonight was definitely one that was winnable. And it seemed to me that it was one of those nights where nearly every break and nearly every qquestionable call went against the Hogs. Still we should have been a winner tonight. something to build on, though.

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