Notes and thoughts from a 65-52 win over Seattle …
There’s a certain routine to buy-out non-conference basketball home games.
As we try to get a large number of items in the sports section each day these games aren’t budgeted for a lot of space.
We’re going to hit the highlights and move ahead. When the outcome becomes clear I set about tying together significant facts and details.
The outcome was clear early in the second half last night, so when Kermit Davis came in for postgame and started ripping the effort of the guys on the floor at the end I had to scramble and find out who exactly was on the floor at the end.
In reality I could have guessed, but we try to minimize guess work in the paper.
Carlos Curry, Franco Miller, Antavion Collum and Bryce Williams were among the players on the floor in the final minutes when Seattle closed on a 15-2 run. The Redhawks had only 24 points with just under 11 minutes to play then scored 28 the rest of the way.
There’s a lot of talk about increased depth on this team. It’s real, and it’s going to get better beginning Saturday at Memphis when Blake Hinson returns, but there’s a limit to this depth.
These early games are about getting minutes for as many guys as you can so you can learn things like Davis learned last night. In truth, Davis probably didn’t learn anything as much as he had theories confirmed.
Some of these guys at the end of the bench have some work to do to be able to help in big games.
Davis played 11 players last night. My guess is eight of those players plus Hinson will play at Memphis. If it becomes seven plus Hinson I would think Bryce Williams becomes the odd man out. The junior college transfer guard has flashed with athleticism but has looked out of rhythm at times too.
Sammy Hunter will likely stay in the mix as a backup to Khadim Sy at the 5 though his role could change if Davis decides to play Hinson at the 4 and KJ Buffen at the 5. Hunter isn’t doing anything to hurt himself right now. He’s not frequently out of position or turning the ball over. He’s just not doing anything that really catches your eye. The athleticism is there, and I think that will change. We’ll see.
Sy had only one blocked shot last night but altered many others. Through four games he’s made a big defensive impact in the paint. He’ll be challenged more against Memphis.
In the off-season Davis raved about the “basketball IQ” of freshman Austin Crowley, and Crowley has been the most impressive of the newcomers.
He’ll be the first guy off the bench, but he’ll play starter minutes. He was 3-for-3 from the floor in 21 minutes last night. He didn’t attempt a 3, though he’s shooting a team-leading 55.6 percent behind the arc on the season.
Crowley plays like he knows where he’s supposed to be on the floor.
Luis Rodriguez has been in a groove since his opening-game struggles. He had only four rebounds last night but had nine points and four assists in 21 minutes. He took some open 3-point shots, one of them rather early in the possession I thought, didn’t hit any, but he made some really strong moves to the basket.
Breein Tyree looked like he played more within himself last night. He took only two 3-point shots – missed them both – but was 3-for-6 inside the arc. It wasn’t his best scoring game, but he had five assists and only one turnover. It was the kind of game Tyree talked about in the preseason. There’s more athleticism around him now, and he needs to be more of a distributor.
While Davis was upset about how his second-level reserves finished the game the good news is that the starters and key reserves have been strong defensively.
Ole Miss is second in the league in scoring defense right now giving up 52 points a game.