The Morning After: Jackson State

The sophomore center had the lone good game of any Ace, with 16 points and seven rebounds

The sophomore center had the lone good game of any Ace, with 16 points and seven rebounds.

Story from last night’s loss to Jackson State:

–Courier & Press: http://bit.ly/1b639Aj

Some observations:

–The Aces team we saw Saturday looked like a completely different one than the one that showed up against Xavier. Coach Simmons said the team was down after the loss, which is logical, but coming back home to play an easier team than the Musketeers should’ve been motivation to build back confidence. This game was the low point for UE so far this season — Simmons said after the game “there’s not an area of the game our team can’t improve on” — and the young Aces have a long way to go to build back up to the confidence they had when they were 5-0.

–One of the biggest concerns for UE’s offense besides their poor shooting — it’s going to happen every once in a while, even to the best teams — was the defense on sophomore guard D.J. Balentine. You could tell the Aces wanted to give him the ball early and get him a couple of easy baskets to build his confidence, but the way Jackson State was defending him didn’t allow for many open looks. Early in the game, Balentine would run a curl off a screen from the elbow and freshman guard Duane Gibson would look to feed him the ball at the free throw line, but many times the Tigers collapsed or would help off of the screen and Balentine couldn’t get free. Even off the dribble, the defense would help when he drove to the paint. Balentine had a better second half, but 3-of-13 from the field isn’t what he’s capable of.

–The Aces’ defense hasn’t been stellar all season, but there was one play they just couldn’t stop: the drive and dish. Jackson State’s guards would drive to the paint, draw help from UE’s big men and dish to Brandon West, who was open for the layup. A simple, yet effective play for the Tigers, allowing West to tally 14 points and 22 rebounds.

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