Hmmm, well at least we aren't UCLA.
Here is a quick rundown of what went right, what went wrong and where we go from here.
What Went Right
We won the game.
Brown couldn't miss from the outside, going 3 for 3, including one from NBA range. He only played 16 minutes but had 14 points and was the only player off the bench to score (which is also in the "what-went-wrong" column).
Count Isiah Umipig in this category as well. Wasn't on from the outside (1 for 7 from three-point range) but did create, was aggressive and led this team to a win. His improvement so far in the early going is amazing.
What Went Wrong
Offense and defense.
And how is it possible with all our newfound athleticism that we didn't have a single dunk?!
Omondi Amoke had 12 boards and 14 points but was 0-6 at the line and led the team in turnovers in 33 minutes. So much for limited action. Decent outing on paper, but so much more is expected from him, especially when you consider we are never going to play a smaller or less talented DI team than this. He could have dominated the game but looked like he was coasting for much of it.
Another player who had a good boxscore game was D.J. Seeley. He got hot early in the second half but his issue was defense and foul trouble which limited his time to 21 minutes. I guess the good news is at least he should be well rested.
Bigs. The Andre Hardy woes continue and Sedric Martin still doesn't look like he's improved much. Even in limited minutes for both, they stood out in the wrong way. You just can't play below the rim at this level which brings the biggest question of the day, why no John Underwood? A player with his size and his ability should not be riding the pine against a team of Nicholls' talent. Let's hope the kid is mentally tough, otherwise it could be a long tournament.
Perry Webster. Still love the kid but he struggled mightily on both sides of the floor. He needs to push the ball and take the open shot. A little defense wouldn't hurt either.
Where Do We Go From Here
One thing that is clear is that if you look at the boxscore it doesn't appear to be that bad. But this was a game controlled from start to finish by Nicholls State. They came out with pressure and never let up but this was a team that we should have destroyed and instead looked dazed and confused. We needed to run the ball and dictate the flow and that didn't happen.
Could have been the empty arena and overlooking a crappy opponent but we will be playing a lot of crappy opponents in empty arenas and gyms this season so we need to find a way to self-motivate. Based on watching the second game, it's clear that both Houston Baptist and Louisiana are more athletic so if we play like we did against Nicholls State, it's going to be a very humbling tournament.
At this stage it's clear we are behind both UCSB or Long Beach State and that's to be expected but it's way too early to know what this team is made of and way too early to know where we go from here. Still have a ton of talent and potential, plus we are 2-0. That's a good thing, right? Ask UCLA.
Quotes: "This was a really hard-fought game," said Fullerton Coach Bob Burton. "It was a good win for us... we didn't play exceptionally well but competed. We have a lot of things to work on. We needed to play that way. They were a patient team and forced us to play defense. We played hard."