Well that was something. The Friars, despite shooting 2/16 from three, were able to hold off the Davidson Wildcats 63-62 in Asheville this evening. Now PC will await the winner of the UNLV and Alabama for a 7pm tip in the fifth place game of the Maui Invitational.
PC came out on fire in this one with a noticeably different effort and intensity on the defensive end. Guys were locked in on their man, allowing little airspace and showing active hands. It actually in a way made the Crier upset because where the hell was this yesterday? PC would race out to a 27-8 lead, however it did not last long.
In a short period of time, a couple of defensive lapses, some frustration from the players, a T for Cooley and PC ended the break only up 4 points. In the second half Davidson kept getting closer and closer to tying or taking the lead but could just never do so. The Friars really tried to help them out by missing a few front ends of one-and-ones allowing Davidson to have the ball last and a shot to win the game. Bob McKillop drew up a great play to get a full court pass to Hungjung Lee, who ended up missing a Noah Horchler contested shot at the buzzer. There was some contact on the play but you don’t hear me complaining.
Some Other Notes
Nate Watson Eats
Thought Nate would be able to have a good game against Davidson and he certainly did. Nate was unguardable in the post and even showed a nice mid-range shot. Watson finished with a game 22 points (10/16). The biggest improvement he’s made this season is ability to defend without fouling, as he only had 2 fouls today despite several post ups from Brajkovic. If he can consistently avoid foul trouble expect several games like this in the future.
Part of the struggles to close the half had to do with the team looking pretty tired. These guys are 18-22 year old athletes I get it but playing two games in two days isn’t a common practice in college hoops and it showed. It is something to monitor especially if they draw a team like Alabama.
Gantt’s Defense Improves
Ed Cooley had said going into the year that sophomore Greg Gantt would be an all-conference defender and against Indiana he most certainly wasn’t. The Crier probably prematurely called for his benching. His defensive performance wasn’t poor vs IU due to a lack of effort, he was flying all over the place but had several lapses and took some poor angles on guys. Today he seemed much more comfortable.
Reeves’ Offensive Woes
AJ Reeves is having an underwhelming Maui Invitational thus far. In the two games he has 13 points on 3/12 shooting from the floor, including 1/5 from 3. The Friars are going to need Reeves to get his swagger back on offense because clearly we desperately need his scoring. To give AJ credit though he did get to the line by attacking the hoop and while he missed that late free throw it was his tough rebound that put Davidson in a tough spot for the final shot.
Once again the Friars will wrap up their Maui Invitational tomorrow night at 7pm against the winner of UNLV and Alabama. We will have a preview for you tomorrow.