The Bisons lost the first game of a short Alabama road trip last night, 64-52 at Alabama-Huntsville. The offense sputtered to start the second half, and UAH went on a long run that didn’t allow the Bisons to recover. As the clock wound down, the Chargers used their superior passing and ballhandling skills to milk the clock on every possession, not allowing Harding to come back.
Patrick Andrepont had by far the best game of any Bison player, scoring 20 points (8-14 FG) and bringing down nine rebounds. He also had two assists, a steal, and no turnovers. No other Bison had even a moderately good game. Reggie Bibb and Jacob Thies did a good job filling their roles in the offense, but they had little to show for it, as neither was an offensive threat. Bibb shot 0-for-5 to go with his six assists. He had no turnovers, but also no steals. Thies had two points and four rebounds in limited minutes.
Lonnie Smith had a tough time getting free all night, although most of the time it looked like he was just standing around, lost in the offense. Since he has trouble creating his own shot, it’s going to be important for the team to set up a lot of screens for him to get off his jump shots, a la Duke’s J.J. Redick. Brandon Sims also had a rough shooting night, making just three of nine shots. Somehow, we’ll have to develop an inside game with these guys, so that we can make some free throws and improve our offensive efficiency. UAH played tough defense, but not so tough that we couldn’t have done something.
Alassane Savadogo had an up-and-down game, picking up some cheap fouls (I think the refs just don’t know how to make the calls with someone his size…it’s not all his fault). Savadogo had nine rebounds in just 18 minutes on the floor, marking his third straight game with a rebound rate over 30%. He also had four turnovers and missed all three free throws he attempted, but his was still the second best game score on the team (4.1, second to Andrepont’s 18.5).
Four key stats:
In the four key areas, shooting was a big problem last night. Our guys had a hard time getting off good shots, and the shots we were getting off just weren’t falling. As I said, we need some guys to be better about getting inside to take higher-percentage shots and get to the free throw line. Of all GSC teams so far (a limited sample), our team has been the worst at getting to the line and making shots.
Rebounding, however, continued to be a strength. Savadogo is a rebounding machine, but he needs to be better about getting the ball back in the hands of our playmakers after coming down with the rebound. His usage rate is very high so far, so he will need to improve his court vision and get the ball to our shooters.
Turnovers were our other big problem, and pretty much everyone was a guilty party. Lonnie Smith, Brandon Sims, and Savadogo all had four turnovers each, and Cole Kee, Jacob Thies, and Steven Barnett added seven between them. UAH, on the other hand, did a better job holding on the ball, committing five fewer turnovers.
The Bisons will try to bounce back from this loss tomorrow afternoon in Florence at North Alabama. Game time is 2 PM central.