Story from yesterday afternoon’s bounce-back win:
–Courier & Press: http://bit.ly/J3NziJ
A few observations:
–Like a few of the players said after the game, there was a weird energy to the pace. I’d agree. A ton of fouls and a few too many turnovers will keep the possessions down and the clock stoppage up, which doesn’t allow a team get into rhythm or build momentum — that could be a reason why the Aces weren’t able to pull away from Miami when they built the lead to double digits. But good for UE to be able to keep pushing to maintain its lead despite many turnovers and lots of fouls — there will probably be a couple more games like this, and teams can’t afford to fall apart when momentum or pace isn’t going their way.
–It’s probably been understated in recent games, but sophomore center Egidijus Mockevicius has really come into his own in the past three games. He tallied his first career double-double Saturday afternoon with 17 points and 13 rebounds, and is really becoming a force down low. There were some missed opportunities but he did a fine job staying out of foul trouble (he played a season-high 29 minutes) and establishing his position against the RedHawk big men in the paint — he didn’t get outmuscled or outmatched.
–That being said, I’m really liking the two big man look with Mockevicius and junior forward Jaylon Moore. We saw it for the first time against Murray State — not sure why that was the first time the Aces have played that all season — and again against Miami. I think with all the success the duo has had in the past two games (Mockevicius and More both putting up career numbers and a handful of dunks between them), the Aces will go with this lineup more, barring any foul trouble. Head coach Marty Simmons said the lineup also had to do with matchups, which is very true, but if you have two big men having success at the same time, play them until it doesn’t work.
–Head coach Marty Simmons on Egidijus Mockevicius’ recent play: “He’s got a high ceiling. He’s playing some good basketball, and he can be really good. He does so many things — if he’s not blocking shots, he’s changing shots. When you have somebody in there like that, the other team always knows he’s around.”
–Simmons on Mockevicius and Moore in together: “A lot of it is matchups. If the matchups are right, we’re able to do that. I think Jaylon is a versatile player, where he plays some minutes at the ‘5,’ plays some minutes at the ‘4.’ At times today we had to go to zone to keep him in there because they had four guards.”