Story from last night’s 91-68 win over Anderson:
–Courier & Press: http://bit.ly/ImRXIC
–Though a solid win, the game was just sluggish. The Aces couldn’t get out to a big lead until their 17-0 run to open the second half and they had some issues on defense. And UE probably needed a slow game like this to bring to light a few things the team can work on before conference play. The biggest things, according to the players, are energy and effort. The Aces played with fire in the first half against Valparaiso, but surrendered 62 points in the second half due to lackadaisical defense, and had just a five-minute spurt against Anderson where the team was playing at another level. That won’t fly against tougher opponents, and the team realizes this. They’ll adjust.
–Offense isn’t an issue for this team. Four players scored in double figures, UE scored 91 points, the team shot over 57.7 percent from the field. This team can shoot, and can shoot well, and has the ability to get to the free throw line. The Aces were in the bonus with 12 minutes left in the first half and took 30 foul shots last night. Points will come naturally to this squad if they keep being aggressive and looking for the right shot on each possession.
–Freshman guard Duane Gibson is a versatile point guard. Against Mercer he scored a career-high 23 points and against Valparaiso he had 12 points and 10 assists, but didn’t score a point or tally a rebound last night, though had 11 assists. It just wasn’t his night to score. Head coach Marty Simmons said he is a pass-first point guard, and though Gibson’s shown his ability to create of the dribble, when it’s not his night to score, he knows it and becomes the distributor. Gibson embodied the unselfish play the Aces are known for against Anderson, but I’m sure Simmons wouldn’t mind if Gibson got a couple of buckets.
–Blake Simmons on the pace of the game: “It was all effort. The first half we really didn’t play with any heart; we were sluggish. In the second half, we got together and were like, ‘Let’s go right from the get-go.’ We wanted to play as hard as we can in the first four minutes and get the lead up and I thought we did a good job of it.”
–Ryan Sawvell on the biggest issue of the game: “I think our focus this game especially was just on the defensive end of the floor because the last game, Valparaiso scored 62 points on us in the second half. That was our emphasis in practice. … We didn’t play very well in the first half but the second half we did a little bit better job and that was with our effort.
–Head coach Marty Simmons on the team’s defense: “It’s just defensive breakdowns where we have to really work these next couple days to get ready for that challenge.”