After a relatively devastating loss last night against Dayton, Mark Few had the unenviable task of getting his squad ready for a game the following morning against a very inferior team. For a brief moment in today's game against Chaminade, all fans had to be thinking "oh my god, they actually might lose this one". Slowly but surely, however, the Bulldogs came to life and wound up absolutely waxing the Silverswords of Chaminade by a score of 113-81.
The recap of this game basically stops and starts with the lack of defense by both teams. Chaminade, in particular, was obviously outmatched and it showed after the first several minutes. Kevin Pangos was the first Zag to truly snap out of the post-Dayton hangover and he got his club rolling from outside and from then on, it was a glorified scrimmage. Pangos was one of seven Zags to hit double figures as he finished with 18 points on 7-10 shooting from the floor.
While Pangos got the cobwebs out for the Zags at the start of the game, it was Gerard Coleman who really provided the spark. The Providence transfer, who inexplicably played just nine minutes last night against Dayton, came out with aggression today and led the Zags with 19 points on 9-12 shooting from the floor. He once again displayed his ability to get to the rim and, at several times, looked like he was playing at a completely different speed than anyone else on the court. Most of us have been waiting for the time when Coleman becomes part of the starting lineup and, after today's performance, it feels like the time could be right now.
While scoring well into the 100s is fun as a fan, the fear from today's game and the second half of last night's game is the defense. While they looked better than Chaminade defensively, that is not really saying much. Getting Gerard Coleman more minutes and acclimating him to the Zags' defensive rotations will be paramount as his length should be beneficial on the perimeter.
Quick Look Ahead To Arkansas
A few days ago, we did a quick Q&A with several blogs representing Maui Invitational schools. Well, looks like that paid off as Scottie from Arkansas Fight took the time to tell us a little more about the Hogs.
Arkansas Razorbacks: Scottie Bordelon, Arkansas Fight
1. Who is your team's #1 player to watch, and why might he lead your team to the Invitational title?
So far this season, Arkansas' top guy has been Alandise Harris. Harris, who sat out last season after transferring from Houston, has been a huge surprise for Arkansas early on. Coming into the season we knew he would add toughness and rebounding to the team, but he's leading the team in scoring (18.3 ppg) while playing the sixth man role.
Harris' strength and versatility make him a tough match for opponents. His aggressiveness attacking the rim and on the glass give him opportunities at the foul line. Watch for the quick baseline-spin reverse-layup move from the short corners. That's his go-to move.
2. Who are your under-the-radar player(s), and how might they impact the game?
I said this last week in a article I wrote following the SMU game - Michael Qualls may be a household name after Maui if he continues the tear he's on to start the year. You may have seen him on SportCenter's Top 10 plays a couple of weeks ago, posterizing a defender much taller than him.
Qualls has vastly improved his game since last season and is second on the team in scoring and rebounding, and is tied for the team lead in assists and blocks. He's freakishly long and athletic, can jump out of the gym, and is basically a highlight waiting to happen.
Coty Clarke would be someone else to watch for. He and Alandise Harris have a lot of similarities. Both are aggressive big guys with a soft touch. Anthlon Bell is also a sharpshooter to watch for. He can absolutely fill it up.
3. Biggest team strength?
The biggest team strength is definitely the depth. To play the "Fastest 40 Minutes in Basketball" style Mike Anderson likes, you have to be a deep team. And the great part about this team is although the talent dips a bit with the bench players, the production is still there, and the length and defensive pressure keep coming in waves. Anderson is finally completely comfortable playing 10-11 guys every night, allowing him to keep key players fresh while maintaining a high tempo and level of pressure.
4. Biggest team weakness?
Most Arkansas fans would agree that there is not a distinct leader amongst all of the guards. All of them play an important role in getting the offense going, but don't necessarily provide a ton of leadership.
Coming into the season, junior guard Rashad Madden was projected to be the starting point guard, but wound up being suspended before the season began for violating team rules. That's not what you're looking for in a leader and floor general. Defining that role could go a long way in this team taking the next step and getting back into the NCAA Tournament.
You may have heard, but we also have a hard time winning games away from Bud Walton Arena. That's a big problem, too.