Tough loss, but one I'm not all that concerned about. If anything, it was a great early season test for our guys that will hopefully pay dividends down the road. That was a very good Nevada team we lost to, and anybody saying otherwise didn't watch the game. At the end of the day it was the second game of the season, all the way across the country with an 11:30pm tipoff against a top 25-caliber team. Not exactly a recipe for success. Factor in the enormous FT disparity (44 to 18) and it's amazing that we only lost by 7. Don't forget it was a 2-point game late in the second half before those circus 3-pointers by Martin put the game out of reach. Our guys will learn from this. I trust we'll see a much better performance our next time out.
As far as the individual players, a lot of good comments being made on here. I agree that our frontcourt defense (or lack thereof) is a bit worrisome, but I'll need to see a few more games against solid competition before I pass judgement. Hurley will (hopefully) make adjustments to mask some of our deficiencies. That's what good coaches do. Few quick comments:
EC - Invisible in the first half and too many turnovers overall, but he and Terrell put the team on their backs in the second half. Through two games this year and all of last season, too often this has become the trend. It seems like he takes an entire half to warm up which is why we're continually playing from behind late in games. If he can turn it on earlier then we'll be able to pad a lead and not have to expend so much energy scratching and clawing to come back late. He's a dynamic scorer when everything is clicking, but I want to see more consistency out of him.
Terrell - Like many of our Keaney Blue posters, I feel he's our best all-around player. But his performance last night was eerily similar to EC's. He was a no-show in the first half, but a beast in the second half. We can't have both of these guys disappear in the same half. We won't win many games, if any, that way. Terrell is such a great defender and he can definitely shoot from long range, but I'd love to see him take it to the rim more often. That's where his bread and butter is. He's so strong and knows how to use his body strength to his advantage. I'm not saying he should pass up open looks on the perimeter, but let the rest of the guards focus on the threes, he needs to be driving the lane.
Garrett - I thought he quietly played a solid game last night. He's a true floor general out there, and his shot looked great. I didn't see his usual intensity on defense, but otherwise I have no complaints about his performance. In a loaded backcourt, I still think JG should be playing meaningful minutes. He has the experience and the toughness to keep us on track.
Langevine - Very disappointing performance. And rest-assured he will foul out of every single game this year if he continues to play defense the way he does. It's maddening. He's played an average of 16 minutes the first two games due to the constant foul trouble. That's unacceptable especially since he's our only legitimate big man at the moment. He also wasn't crashing the boards with his usual intensity last night, but let's hope it was an aberration due in part to the extensive travel and late tipoff.
Akele - I was pleasantly surprised by his performance last night. 8 points and 6 rebounds in limited minutes, and he was the only one defending in the paint. He'll never be a banger down low, but it appears he'll need to step up his defensive game if we're going to have any shot of winning games versus bigger teams. So far he appears to be up for the challenge.
Dowtin - Yuck. He did have 6 assists, but he was a liability every time he touched the ball last night. The high number of forced shots coupled with some boneheaded turnovers really preventing the team from making any kind of run. Very forgettable performance, but I expect big things from him this year. He'll bounce back nicely against Holy Cross.
Preston - Tough to gauge his ability because he played so few minutes, but he definitely looks the part and plays with a competitive edge. I'd love to see what he can do with more playing time. We need all the size we can get up front.
Berry - Has an incredibly soft touch for a big man and is certainly an asset on the offensive side, but boy is he a defensive liability. Will be interesting to see how Hurley manages his minutes on a go forward.
Fatts - Flashed some incredible speed in limited action and has a great handle. I think he deserves more playing time, but we're so loaded in the backcourt at the moment. I fear he's one of the last few guys off the bench for the foreseeable future.