Idaho Stampede 123, Bakersfield Jam 115 (Box Score)
- This was the Versus game for the week, and while it was a fast-paced, high-scoring affair, I wouldn't say it was always fun to watch. Guys were obviously tired, there was some sloppy play and the first half was mired in offensive fouls.
- Versus has been showing bits of the pregame and halftime speeches from each coach. In this one, we heard Bakersfield coach Will Voigt say the immortal words, "They're going to come out with their best, you know, whatever." The point he eventually made was that Idaho would come out shooting for the first few minutes, and the Jam just had to ride it out and keep up and they'd be okay. I still find that sentence hilarious. When I was in elementary school, I would sometimes have to go to work with my parents in the summer. I was always really bored, as you could imagine. At my mother's office I would sometimes pass the time by making banners with their dot matrix printer. I really want to make a dot matrix banner right now with the words THEY'RE JUST GOING TO COME OUT WITH THEIR BEST, YOU KNOW, WHATEVER and hang it up in my apartment.
- Lance Allred had his best game of the season so far. He's put up okay but not fantastic numbers so far, but I really like him on this Idaho roster. 25 points and 15 boards, and he missed a few shots likely due to fatigue and had a few rebounds knocked away from him by teammates. He also played really smart, solid defense on Brian Butch out on the perimeter in the first half, bodying up on Butch and making him put the ball on the floor and take some tough shots, all without fouling. Great game from him.
- Donell Taylor looked fine running the point for most of the game, though he had a few careless turnovers (fatigue, again, probably), and he finished with 15 assists, but he was most dangerous either shooting the ball or driving to the rim; 27 points on 15 shots, and Bakersfield couldn't really stop him at any point.
- Back to Brian Butch, he started off the game well, as Bryson McKenzie either forgot or was never told to guard him out behind the arc, but once Allred started checking him Butch started missing shots. He played better in the second half when he started getting the ball on the block. He probably should do that more often.
- Voigt kept emphasizing that he wanted his team to push the tempo because, you know, Idaho doesn't play well at a fast pace. Sarcasm aside, it's not the worst strategy because the Stampede should be just as fatigued, and it apparently worked last night, except that a.) Voigt didn't seem to account for his own players' fatigue at all (he was even asked about it and basically ignored the question), and b.) when Blake Ahearn shot 1-7 and Brian Butch shot 3-11 from outside, there didn't really seem to be a plan B or any adjustments made. The Jam also left tons of guys open in the corners and didn't have a strategy for stopping Taylor.
- Will Daniels played well in the first half, scoring 10 points, then went 0-fer in the second. Jeremy Wise scored 14 of his 22 points and grabbed three of his four rebounds in the second half. Maybe next time they can play well at the same time.
- John Edwards played 10 minutes and committed four fouls. He basically sat out the last two-thirds of the first quarter, the entire second, the last half of the third and the first half of the fourth. I have no idea why he started when Voigt wanted to push the tempo, because that's not his game at all.
The rest of the games after the jump.
- Antoine Agudio had himself a really good game. He's been a bit up and down this season, but he can get hot from outside and this was his second 30-point output in three games.
- Agudio and Powell accounted for half of the Thunderbirds' points, with Powell getting 28 along with a team-high five assists. Kurt Looby had 14 points on 5-7 shooting, 13 rebounds and four blocks. Dakota has some decent defenders, but I don't know where they were last night.
- Connor Atchley shot a perfect 7-7 from the floor (and made his pair of free throws) and had six boards in 19 and a half minutes. I still think Atchley needs a little bit of work, but he could develop into a pretty good player.
- I don't know if Maurice Baker wasn't looking to distribute or what; he had 23 points on 13 shots but only five assists. He was the only Wizard to make more than one three-pointer, though, so I'm guessing that had something to do with it.
- Kevin Pittsnogle came off the bench, but he still managed to have a very Pittsnogle-y game. He took only one shot inside the arc and had three rebounds in 20 minutes.
- Where was John Coffino?
Reno Bighorns 104, Utah Flash 101 (Box Score)
- Given that Reno had a 47-29 free throw advantage and that Utah shot under 30 percent from the outside, I'm kind of surprised this game was as close as it was. Reno made less than 60 percent of their free throws, though. That's when ya almost lost.
- Fairly recently, Reno seemed to be wavering between Russell Robinson and Majic Dorsey as the main point guard. Now Robinson has been traded away and Dorsey dropped. I'm not sure that getting rid of both was the answer, but they'd also both been with Reno for awhile, so perhaps it was time.
- Reno also picked up DeWitt Scott recently, who's a pretty good three-point shooter. Between him, Yaroslav Korolev, D.J. Strawberry and yes, Cezary Tzrybanski (I see you scouting hoops), Reno suddenly finds themselves with a pretty solid bench. Just as long as Strawberry doesn't shoot 2-10 every night, anyway.
- Rod Benson had his best rebounding game in three weeks, with 11. Just eight points, though, and he missed five free throws. I'm pretty convinced that he's still hurting, or something. Hope he figures it out and/or gets right soon. Then again he had six blocks, so maybe I'm misreading the situation.
- Dontell Jefferson had 22 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists. He hasn't always played consistently this year, and I've dropped him down my own call-up rankings, but he has to be near the top of the list of guys who can contribute in the NBA right now.
Luke Nevill had a minor setback in the last game, missing all of his field goal attempts, but he seems to be back on it with 17 points and eight rebounds; he's been contributing pretty steadily over the last two weeks or so, which the Flash definitely need. They can't rely on essentially power forwards to provide most of the production in the middle all year.
- Like Scott, I really don't get the reluctance to start John Bryant and Alade Aminu together, especially when the alternative is putting Frank Tolbert in the lineup and moving Ivan Harris to the 4. Aminu struggled off the bench offensively, though he did grab eight boards.
- Bryant, however, had his usual solid-to-good line of 27 points, 10 rebounds and two blocks. As I said before he was my second all-star center by default, but his good work deserves some kind of recognition even though he won't get called up.
- T.J. Cummings led his team with 18 field goal attempts. That's what happens when Morris Almond comes off the bench, for some reason. I didn't think I'd see the day when T.J. Cummings would shoot twice as much as JamesOn Curry (who had seven turnovers; welcome back JamesOn!), but here we are.
- Mike Gansey was very good for Erie, with 27 points and 11 rebounds. He's not really a point guard, though, and Jackie Manuel certainly isn't. I don't know what Erie's aversion to true point guards is, but it's getting annoying.
- Almond had 28 points on 15 shots, 12-13 from the foul line, eight boards. See also: Jefferson, Dontell.