That's right, Billy Thomas, go ahead and smile.
UPDATE: Finally, now, I present to you the full recap of this game. I think you'll agree it was worth the wait. I also left Scott's OSLB notes in, because I groveled my way back into this gig and I don't want to jeopardize it again.
This game was only close for about the first ten minutes. The 14ers didn't start the game with much energy, probably because there were more people participating in RU's Open Source Live Blog than there were in the arena. The BayHawks got the first five rebounds of the game, but three of those were offensive. Eventually Colorado remembered they're a great rebounding team and started picking up all those Erie misses, and well, this one got ugly in a hurry. 13 total players scored in double figures, even Oliver Lafayette, who was awful. In fact, Joe Dabbert was the only starter for either side who finished with less than 10, and even then he didn't pick up any fouls, so that's a personal victory of sorts.
Standout performers for the 14ers were the two who Scott and I won't shut up about. Josh Davis scored 33 points on 15 shots, made 12 of his 13 free throws and picked up eight rebounds, three assists, two blocks and one turnover. The only sour note for him was the 1-5 three-point shooting. Dominique Coleman, for his part, scored 19 points on 13 shots, led all players in rebounds with 13 (and this is at 6'3", mind you), led all players with 5 steals, had 5 assists, and was generally making things happen all over the place.
For Erie, well, it was one of those nights. Next year, though, people are going to start talking about Maureece Rice. The rookie from George Washington University finished with 33 points on 23 shots, including shooting 4-7 on three-pointers, and had seven assists. NBDL First Teamer Erik Daniels had a pretty awful night, shooting 5-19 and taking all sorts of ill-advised runners and floaters in the lane, and fouling out with 7 minutes left in the game. But he got a double double! 11 assists to go along with his 10 points. A double double means he's worth a call-up, right Rick Kamla and/or Dime Magazine?
A quarter-by-quarter breakdown follows below.
I already mentioned the early rebounding advantage for Erie, but it really came about because Rice was pretty much the only BayHawk who could buy a shot for the first five and a half minutes of the game. Well that's not entirely true, Lafayette made a jumper a few minutes in. Remember that kids, because he only made one more the entire game. Did I mention he took ten shots? But enough about things that make me queasy. Maureece Rice...yeah. Driving for layups, hitting jumpers and threes, the guy can score. 13 of his 33 points came in the first quarter. His shot's a little flat, but it's effective.
Daniels didn't have a terrible first quarter, finishing with six point and six assists, but one play sticks in my mind and became the story of the game. He had a mismatch against Sonny Weems with a little less than three minutes to go in the quarter. Instead of going down to the block and trying to post Weems up, he called for the ball while he's standing a few feet behind the three-point line, then drove to the basket. But rather than going in all the way for a layup or dunk, Daniels pulled up just past the free throw line and tried a one-handed floater. It rimmed out and Colorado got the rebound. Now do you understand why RU isn't his biggest fan?
On Colorado's side, both Eddie Gill and Billy Thomas were settling for a few too many long jumpers instead of keeping the ball moving and trying to find a better shot. During the OSLB Scott said he'd give Thomas the green light, but Thomas finished shooting 3-10, including 1-4 on threes.) Yikes. The lack of a crowd really seemed to affect Colorado's energy, as they weren't able to pull away until the last minute and a half or so of the quarter, but once they did they didn't look back. Which brings us to...
In my notes I wrote down "Sonny Weems," and he was very involved early on in the quarter. He wasn't always great (he had a few turnovers and a three second violation), but it was pretty clear why the Nuggets like the guy. Speaking of which, Trey Gilder also had some plays of note, and I really wonder if Denver's going to be the team to take him. They'll be picking in the latter portions of the first and second rounds, so it's not like he'll require a huge financial commitment. They'll have gotten a good look at him through being on the 14ers roster, and a bench featuring Gilder, Weems and JR Smith would be a lot of fun (assuming Smith isn't starting next year, which he might).
Erik Daniels kept trying those floaters, and he really needs to quit. There were stretches where Jackie Manuel seemed like he was the only Erie player who cared, even if he missed a pair of free throws or got a layup blocked by Eddie Gill. The second quarter is where you could see why Colorado chose the BayHawks as an opponent, as a seven point lead got stretched into a nineteen point one leading into the...
At one point in the third the 14ers were ahead by 25 points. Maybe a reason Weems keeps getting assigned to the D-League: he gave up a dumb, dumb foul trying to free himself from a defender (Butler, I think) on an inbounds play. You can't just throw a guy aside, Sonny, because a.) these days he's going to sell the foul and drop to the floor, and b.) the refs can totally see your arms extended from pushing him.
Somehow I haven't mentioned Dominique Coleman in this part of the recap, so now I'm gonna. After a missed shot he crashed the boards for a rebound, only Daniels already had good position. Coleman managed to get over Daniels without going over the back to tip the ball up, then put forth a second effort to secure the rebound (Daniels only gave that first effort). Terrific rebounder, that Dominique Coleman. Though I guess you could also file that play under Doubts About Erik Daniels. Since I didn't mention it in the first quarter, and to demonstrate that I'm not completely in the tank, Coleman gets a lot of steals and some rebounds by leaving his man to jump passing lanes or crash the boards. That kind of style works when you're facing a team with only two scoring options who don't crash the boards themselves, but if/when Coleman gets called up to the NBA, teams will be more apt to exploit his gambling. Coleman's talented enough and smart enough to still succeed, but it might not come as consistently as it does now.
On another, less pleasant note, boy do I not like Oliver Lafayette's game.
Oh, I guess they played one of these, huh? To be honest I stopped watching the Futurecast after the third quarter and just followed the play-by-play online, so I didn't really see how anything unfolded. It looks like the BayHawks were able to close the gap slightly before being put back in their place. Having your "best" player foul out with seven minutes left will do that. No Erik Daniels meant more Lafayette and more Tony Bethel, and while Bethel did okay (finishing with 12 points on 5-7 shooting)...I don't know how I keep mentioning Lafayette when he was completely not worth mentioning. Gill and Josh Davis each went to the free throw line a few times. I haven't said much about Davis, I know, but it was your typical Josh Davis game, which is to say good. Also of note was his rather comical half-time interview, likely recorded earlier in the afternoon when he had just woken up from a nap. And hey, Kentrell Gransberry saw just under two minutes of action! He fouled.
And this is where the OSLB takes over:
- Chad Andrus did a great jobs, by himself, but suffered through a bout with the hiccups. We still love him.
- Jon L was drinking Real Ale Pale Ale. He didn't like it, but soldiered on.
- Erie had 4 turnovers and poked 2 14ers in the eye on their first 8 possessions.
- Maureece Rice broke Wilt Chamberlain's high school scoring record. Wow.
- Sonny Weems handled Erik Daniels, Erie's "Center".
- Trey Gilder gets easy buckets, and makes them.
- Erie doesn't crash the boards.
- Jackie Manuel played defense, but his teammates didn't. Nor did they rebound.
- The SEC produces D-Leaguer's.
- Trey Gilder = Tayshaun Prince? Maybe.
- John Lucas looks old.
- Josh Davis had 17 in the first half, and looked hungover in his halftime interview, filmed earlier.
- I found a new penpal, and it's a girl.
- Cheikh Samb was at the game.
- Josh Davis isn't one bit mad that Erik Daniels was first team All D-League. I am.
- Stats people were outrageous.
- Josh Davis is the man.
- It got ugly at 9:31 pm
- RU got a shoutout.
- Joel Abelson didn't wet his pants.
- JRose is a liar.
- Erik Daniels. Garbage. Period.
- Colorado is really good - They play hard, pass the ball, push the tempo and enjoyable.