Here are some observations on last nights win over Cal State Bakersfield.
As advertised, Bakersfield is a much improved team and would likely finish in the middle of the pack if they were in the Big West. In the first half Bakersfield shot well from the outside, played aggressive defense and were the better team as they mounted a 14-point lead.
The difference in the second half for the Titans was they played much better defense and made significant offensive adjustments.
"Our offense was pretty good the whole game but the difference was the defense in the second half," said CSF Coach Bob Burton. "And we made our free throws."
TitanCentral.com's Impact Player of the Game
Orlando Brown. Brown played exceptional in the win and fans have to be impressed with his play thus far in the early going. He hit some big shots in the first half, scored 11 points and hauled down 9 boards. His biggest contribution, though, was the defense he played on Bakersfield's top player Stephon Carter. Giving up at least 2 inches and 20 pounds, Brown held Carter to 14 points on 5-14 shooting.
Could not have won without them
Jer'Vaughn Johnson had 17 points but during one difference-making stretch early in the second half Johnson scored 10 consecutive points. Johnson also pulled down 9 boards in just 23 minutes of play.
The 17 points Perry Webster scored was surprising, just didn't think he shot that many times. Webster struggled in the first half defensively but turned it around in the second half. In addition, Webster ran the team extremely well with his leadership and passing skills. Only three assists showed up in the boxscore, but if his teammates could finish some easy shots he would have been closer to 10.
Devon Peltier had trouble all night getting a good shot off but, to his credit, he didn't get frustrated and start launching up prayers. He stayed within himself and it payed off in the second half, hitting some key shots and free throws.
Orane Chin. Wasn't sure if he should be included here as he has struggled a bit the last two games. Unlike the USC game though, Chin played very well on defense. He mostly guarded CSUB's second best player in Rashad Savage, holding him to 9 points and 6 rebounds. Chin hustled on the defensive boards as well, grabbing eight of them. Another huge positive for OC was making all 10 of his free throws.
Looking to improve
Isiah Umipig. As surprising as Webster has been playing, Umipig has been struggling. He is improving so he is on the right track. The good news is he has made it clear he is not going to give up. The bad news is now he is simply thinking about the wrong things while on the court. Once he lets the game come to him and stop worrying about making mistakes, he is going to be an impact player.
Roger Guardia. Hmmm, He plays less than a minute, manages to turn the ball over and then give up a three-point play with a blocking foul. Division I basketball just isn't being kind to the Spaniard.
Steve Jurich may be battling back troubles but he is not the same player we saw at the Blue/White scrimmage.
Somewhere in between
Sedric Martin can look pretty good on the offensive end. Hitting 4 of 6 shots for 8 points is nice. Also had a nice offensive game against USC. Having only 3 rebounds in the last two games, all on the offensive side, is not a good thing though.
Eric Williams' role is that of a defensive stopper and he did it well last night in his 7 minutes of play. He also hit a couple free throws and had three defensive rebounds. Sedric, are you watching?