. Last Wednesday, the Pack took on the UC Irvine Anteaters in an ugly and odd sort of way.
- The Cons:
The Pack started off hot against the UC Irvine Anteaters, and then began to settle for sloppy shots. As someone commented on Facebook, “They looked great, they looked good, they got cocky, they looked ragged, they looked bad, they hung in there for the win.” That about sums it up. While the first half of the game saw some beautiful threes, the second half seemed lackluster and slow. The Pack outscored the Anteaters by six in the first half, to only lead by one in the second. And while the Pack saw some great leads, the last four minutes came awfully close to being the revenge of the Anteaters. Although three pointers are oh so fun to watch, I think we all can appreciate a team that gets it done by running to the hole. I’m looking at Cameron Oliver to step this up considerably if he wants a professional career.
Once again, last Wednesday say some players in foul trouble. Oliver only played about ten minutes in the second half, needing to sit with four fouls with 13:13 left in the game. And in case you forgot, one of those fouls was a technical, something we’ve seen way too much of from this team this season. Another double foul was also called in this game, which seems to be happening more and more frequently. And while the Pack was able to step up with Oliver on the bench, it’s important that these players not let their skill go to their heads.
- The Pros:
Remember last season when we were one of the worst three-point shooting teams in the country? This team certainly doesn’t. The Pack came out red hot in regards to three-pointers last Wednesday, scoring ten in the first half, and another three in the second, going 13 of 25 for 52%. Olive made four, Marshall made five, Drew made three, and Fenner added one. This team looked nothing like last year’s team in this department.
Speaking of looking nothing like last year, Lindsey Drew has made an enormous amount of progress since last season. Although not always landing a lot of buckets, Drew could always be counted on to be a defensive presence, especially when it came to stealing. But this season sees Drew in a whole new light. While remaining a defensive presence, Drew has upped his offensive game, scoring a season high of 12 points last Wednesday. Drew is looking much more comfortable when shooting, especially when taking the three ball, and his best talent may be his ability to pass the ball and lead the team in assists. Combined with Jordan Caroline, whose hustle can be seen every night, Drew is an example of how hard work pays off.
- Next Up:
The Pack took a week off, then traveled to Vegas to play in the South Point Holiday Hoops Classic. This afternoon, they take on Towson, and tomorrow they’ll play UC Santa Barbara. Towson is 7-4 this season, but this will be their first time ever playing against a Mountain West opponent. Towson is a tough team, with most of their games seeing around 44 fouls, and in order to win, the Pack will have to play hard and hustle, something that seemed to be a bit lacking in Wednesday’s game against the anteaters.
Tomorrow, the Pack will play UC Santa Barbara, a team that is 1-7 this season. Do I really need to say any more? Probably not. There’s no need to crush this team, but I hope the Pack doesn’t use this game as an excuse to come out weak. Or, as an excuse to showboat. Both games are at 2:30, and can be watched on Meridix.com, or listened to at 94.5 FM.
- An Afterthought:
I have a few afterthoughts this week. First, Cameron Oliver became a father this past week when his son, King, was born on Thursday night. Big congratulations to him and his family. Secondly, this team has all but forgotten about Elijah Foster, learning how to play with just eight eligible scholarship players. With Devearl Ramsey being injured the last few games with a thigh bruise, this team has shown that they can play with just a few guys in rotation. A deep bench is always a bonus, but it’s great that the Pack has moved past the baggage that is Foster. And last but not least, Wednesday’s game saw an interesting switch to the line-up, with DJ Fenner starting the second half in place of freshman Josh Hall. You don’t see this type of switch from Muss very often.
- The Word on the Block:
“That’s how you do it! Go to the hole!” “It’s been the Oliver show.” “He went into the tall trees there.” Good call! Good call everybody!” (As crowd calls for foul.) “Maybe he ate a few too many ants. Chocolate covered ants!” “It’s like a layup for him.” (On Marshall’s 3s.) “Send in the big, fat, white guy!”
As always, send quotes to @hlncampbell
And, just for funsies, here's my art project from this week.