15 November 2012

NORTHWESTERN 81 Miss Vly St 68 (F)

We gotta give credit where credit is due.  Davon Usher was dominant and kept the Delta Devils in this game single-handed.  Dude scored 35 on just 18 shots including 6-7 from distance.  The other Delta Devils were about as bad as expected.

Early on it looked like NU would coast to another easy victory.  In contrast to the exhibition and the season opener Jared Swopshire's shot was on.  He teamed with a similarly efficient Reggie Hearn to carry most of the offensive load in the first half while Drew Crawford sat on the bench with two early fouls.  Alex Olah was in rhythm early until getting an earful from Carmody for taking (ahem, and making) open looks at the elbow.  But the score was just 40-38 at half thanks to Mr Usher heating up and Reggie Hearn inexplicably leaving the hot hand to help defend other woeful DDs.  Reggie.  Seriously?

Usher picked up where he left off In the second half so Carmody switched Swopshire on him.  The switch worked as Jared's length bothered Usher and NU built up a comfortable lead.  The DDs came out a timeout with Swop on the bench and went on a Usher run to tie the game up midway through.

NU gradually pulled away from there when the steady game-long diet of Hearn (8-12, 4-6, 23 pts) and Swopshire (7-11, 5-6, 22 pts) was supplemented by Dave Sobolewski finding his shooting stroke for 13 second half points.

The game was much different than the opener which is good and bad.  Good in that the team successfully played through some adversity while Crawford was plagued by foul trouble and sat for much of the game.  Good in that we see that the team is deep enough that many different guys can show up on any given night and shoulder the load.

Bad that the competitiveness of the game prevented NU from tinkering much with the lineup.  This impedes the growth process for Kale Abrahamson (limited first half minutes), Tre Demps (got run but could use more), and Chier Ajou (DNP).

Other random thoughts:

* We were surprised that "Ricola" Cerina was a DNP.  Wat up wit dat?

* We liked very much to see three players lead the offensive charge and that these players were different from the stars in game 1.

* We liked Olah's shot.  He was softer down on the blocks than we'd like.  Take it up strong and finish with authority Big Fella!!!!  Oh and what is the deal with the short leash Coach?

* Most promising to us was the rebounding.  We already know Hearn and Sobo rebound well for their size, but Swopshire and Turner really got after it.   Rarely do we see NU players go up and get the board that high in the air.

* Swop showed some nifty interior passing skills.  He's going to make us ooh and aah this year with some deft dimes.

* Marco got a lot of run in second half while Demps sat.  Is this going to be a game-to-game thing or a sign that Marco really is ahead of Demps on the depth chart?

Next up:  Fairleigh Dickinson Knights who hail from Hackensack, NJ (let the puerile jokes begin!) and play in the Northeast Conference. Sunday 1PM Central.  The Welsh.