While there were a lot of flaws evident in last night's 81-71 loss to Missouri, I actually came away from that game pretty upbeat. Maybe it was the fact that I went in thinking we were going to get California'ed, or maybe it was the heavy-handed woman serving me cocktails in the concourse, but I was damn proud of the way that a YOUNG team didn't give up in the face of adversity.
Think about it, we played them tough for half of 1st period. Then we got knocked around a little and were down 13 heading into halftime. The team could have rolled over and gotten ND'ed. But they didn't. They locked in and battled their way back in to the game. And a couple of more made shots down the stretch and who knows, maybe we're looking at a win. It really was that close.
And despite some people saying that Villanova are in a swoon (I like Borzello, but you need to have high expectations to be in a December swoon), I'm encouraged by the performance I saw last night. Individual players are improving, and so is the team as a whole. I guess it really depends on what your expectations were.
Cheers & /Facepalms are after The Jump.
JayVaughn Pinkston - Goddamn right we're throwing a cheers to JVP! He's rapidly improving every game. He was all over the place on the glass last night and those shots that weren't falling earlier are falling now. 10 points, 7 rebounds, 3 assists (!) and just 2 turnovers. If we're getting that every time out, I'm stoked.
Mouphtaou Yarou - I know Ratliffe went 8-8 from the floor, but almost all of them were wide open chippies because Mouph had to slide over and help out a guard who was getting roasted. It actually reminded me of us 5 years ago (sad face). Otherwise, I thought Mouph was solid out there. Not spectacular, but he was kind of played out of this game a bit because it turned into a guard-track meet.
Dominic Cheek - Still not enough points, but he hit some huuuuuuge shots when we were making our comeback, and played some stellar D as well. Bonus points for 2 ferocious dunks that got the crowd fired up. 12 points and 7 rebounds for Cheek-O is a nice rebound after one of the worst weeks of his career.
Achraf Yacoubou - Just 12 minutes, but played solid D. He's awfully quick and strong for a freshman. Oh, and the patented NO NO NO YES YES YES!! 3-pointer that came at a huge moment in the game where Villanova was about to get run over again.
The Vendor in section 310 - Those Jameson-rocks you were pouring me were hefty, and well-priced. I salute you.
Maalik Wayns - 14 points and 9 assists is something we'll go wild over this year every time out. 5 turnovers, including that back-breaker where he dribbled into the corner and then threw it into our own end for a turnover, is not something we'll be excited about.
James Bell - Hit a couple big shots, but seemed passive for most of the game. Missed a few shots inside that have to be converted. Not too worried.
Darrun Hilliard - He's been so good at not forcing his offense. 5-13 was forcing it a bit, though he too had some huge baskets.
The Villanova fans in attendance - Other than a few in my section, the place was REALLY quiet for most of the game, until Villanova made their run back in to it. Support the team in both good and bad times, people.
Tweet of the Game
This one goes to Big East Coast Bias stalwart Patrick Johnston, always there to show that it could be worse. That didn't save me from hitting the bar hard after the game, but it was a nice thought.
GameThread Comment of the Game
Unfortunately just not a lot of comedy in there last night. I've got to be around for one of these soon and re-push the envelope. Anyways, we'll give this out to jhulax22 for this point he made, which for the the life of me I can't remember why he was fired up (believe it was a mistake on D by us) but I remember thinking that he could get T'd up for language alone. It was quite the spectacle, and we always love a good coach freakout.
dont see jay get that fired up too often
Villanova returns this Saturday against Temple, where they will meet their main competition for the Big 5 title. It should be a good game, see you then!
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