It's raining threes. Senior sensation Josh Akognon hit 5 of 11 while sidekick senior Marcio Lassiter was a perfect 3 for 3 behind the long-distance strip. Lassiter hit perhaps the biggest three of the night in overtime as he had about what seemed like forever to set, aim and shoot a dagger which put the Titans up by seven with a couple minutes left. Akognon earned the coveted TitanCentral.com Player of the Game with his defense, rebounding and shooting display.
After not getting to the line one time against St. Mary's Akognon had 12 attempts in this game. He did do something he will likely never do again in a game of basketball: He missed three straight free throws, including two one-and-one's. He did hit all his other nine attempts however.
Oh Guisse can you play. Papa Guisse played a season-high 39 minutes and he simply keeps improving each game. He led the Titans in rebounds (11), blocks and overall hustle while committing zero turnovers (team had a season-high 26). Another great game for the junior transfer who is solidifying the starting role at the center position.
Reserve center Raymond Miller did have his best game as a Titan, lasting 23 minutes before fouling out but improved immensely with rebounding and defensive play.
It's time for a Rhyme. With the Titans struggling early in the game Chris Rhymes came of the bench to ignite his teammates as well as the fans in the stands. He had 10 quick points and snagged a couple rebounds. You can tell he still has a ways to go before he is 100% but his first half as well as his play in overtime, when Miller fouled out, were very much needed.
Sports Center Moment. We told you he was explosive but even if Gerard Anderson did nothing else as a Titan (don't worry, not going to happen) fans will always remember the dunk he had in this game. With the ball at the three point line his defender parted ways for a brief moment and Gerard immediately drove the lane and from about 12 feet away leaped in the air and dunked the ball over the Charlotte defender while drawing the foul. Yes, he completed the three point play. It's one of those moments where people will say, in 5+ years perhaps, he left from behind the free throw line and his whole body was completely over the rim (it was only half over ;) ).
Anderson also had a much better game then the boxscore shows. Eight turnovers is never good but he really brought a lot of positive energy to the floor which no doubt helped his teammates. Played tough defense and, while he too fouled out, at least a couple of those were bad calls. Come to think of it, there were a couple bad traveling calls on him as well so he really had six turnovers.
Stepping up. With Jacques Streeter struggling for the first time this year -- he fouled out in 19 minutes with 1 assist and 3 turnovers -- Ameer Shamsud-din came up with some solid play before Akognon took over the point in the second half. Aaron Thompson also bounced back after the debacle against St. Mary's. His offense is still a little behind -- and he will improve, no doubt -- but he played some good defense while guarding the 49ers studly, quick and punitive point guard Dijuan Harris.
TitanCentral.com Spin. We are extremely happy with being 3-4 at this point. Make no mistake that Charlotte did not want to lose this game and they came out with fire. We held on, kept working hard and rather quickly the momentum change in our favor.
The seniors are stepping up in a big way and I think the Titans will look back on this tournament as a huge growing experience. Now it's time to get back in the gym and work on the obvious: Turnovers.
I am much more comfortable with the post play after this tournament. All three teams have better Bigs than we will ever see in the Big West and I thought we played well in two of the three games. I loved the way we fronted Coley and Jones and our guards worked really hard to prevent the inside pass.