I wrote in the preview that I wasn't sure what to expect. I picked the Flyers to win by 19, they won 67-52 so that was a bit better than I expected. And the truth be told, I figured it could have been a lot worse. But I also held out some hope that the Mount could really surprise this Dayton team.
The Mount valued possession of the basketball. I was afraid this could turn into a layup fest for the Flyers courtesy of some turnovers and such. That never happened and you've got to give the inexperienced Mount guards plenty of credit for that. On the afternoon the Mount only turned the ball over nine times. So a good effort by Lamar Trice and Josh Castellanos in that area.
Shawn Atupem. The senior center had a fine game against a solid Dayton frontcourt. He had 14 points and 9 rebounds. The Flyers big men will be better than most he faces this year. He looks ready to have a huge senior year. And I think this coaching staff is working on finding spots that can utilize all his talents.
The Attitude. I'm going to include some of the Alums in this as well. Because it is hard to judge a team attitude via a computer screen many miles away. But from my vantage point it looked like the team played hard - opening to end - and didn't get flustered when things didn't go their way early. Credit to them and the staff for that. Also, it was nice to see the wide range of tweets from past teammates including Jeremy Goode, Markus Mitchell and Jason Epps - as well as from Brad Gerick over at Mount U about playing for the Mount and wishing the team Good Luck this weekend. Good stuff
Easy baskets or at least easy opportunities coming through the flow of the offense. Teams put such a premium of defense these days and there are so many athletes out there that it was really encouraging to see some easy chances for the Mount come from the offensive flow and not from an individual effort from a player. Cuts to the baskets that guys were wide open on. Good stuff again.
The Mount has to find a way to get the ball to its post players on the blocks in post up situations. Raven Barber especially. But I still contend that the strength of this team is going to be the interior play. But I don't remember too many times where the posts caught the ball in the low post and made a move with it. One such occasion occurred and Raven Barber made a great move and was rewarded with two foul shots. You gotta make em big fella.
The defense. This the one I was sort of perplexed by. One of the commenters said the zone was pretty iffy and I'd agree with that but we didn't see enough to really know for sure. The man-to-man was generally pretty good, although I thought there were serious problems with help defense in some situations, and the rebounding particularly in the first half was atrocious. Some of that as I said in the game blog may have been attributed to fact that the Mount was for all intents and purposes playing with three guards.
Julian Norfleet. A solid debut for the freshman from the Tidewater area. He led the Mount with 15. But he did that on 16 shots. He at times looked to being shooting a little quickly. Didn't seem to have his body fully behind him. So a decent debut for the freshman but imagine what it could have been had he shot the way we know he is capable of. The one real good thing was after he missed a few early, he didn't get down, he kept shooting. That impressed me.
The injuries that kept Kristijan Krajina and Pierre Brown out of action. (Mountathletics.com says they are out indefinitely) Also, Jacolby Wells didn't see any playing time. Not sure what the situation is there.
It has become obvious that Robert Burke and Milan Brown's offensive strategies are not nearly the same. I think Mount fans who haven't seen the new action will think it looks more like a Jim Phelan coached offense than a Milan Brown one. Phelan always wanted the player who could make the 18-foot jumper. I think that is going to become important in this gameplan again. Right now the Mount needs somebody to step up and be the other shooter. Not only was Julian Norfleet the only guy to make and three pointers, he took 13 of the 19 the Mount attempted. So they've got to find someone to balance things out. I think that Brown and Krajina both could help in that capacity...and Castellanos and Trice can still be threats when open outside.
The rebounding as I said has to be better. The word was it was pretty good in the preseason. Even in the Coppin State loss, the Mount had a huge advantage on the boards, so maybe it was just one of those things yesterday. But it was an area that concerned me coming in and certainly didn't do anything to make me feel any better about it yesterday.
An off day today and then to the Shoemaker Center to play Cincinnati tomorrow night.