The Bisons fell last night 67-65 to Hawaii Pacific in their final game before the holidays, capping off a frustrating five-game losing streak. Luckily, the Bisons have a tune-up game against Central Baptist on January 4th that will almost certainly get their non-conference record over .500 and break the losing streak before the conference season begins. That doesn’t make this stretch any more palatable, but I imagine it will help morale. I’m sure it’s been tough to go to Hawaii and come so close against good teams twice, in the end coming up short both times.
Here are the team stats from this game:
And the individual numbers:
Matt Hall had another solid scoring game, although it’s taking him more shots to reach his usual level of scoring this season. I’m not sure if he’s lost a step yet or not. Perhaps he’s still recovering from last season’s devastating injury. I’m sure the team was happy just to have him back at all this year. His 25 points led the team once again.
Most of the other scorers were fairly inefficient at getting to their final totals. Patrick Andrepont needed 15 shots to get to 15 points, and he had 3 turnovers with no assists. Jacob Thies was completely invisible on offense, with just one offensive rebound and three turnovers in 23 minutes, which is a totally unacceptable level of performance. I’m sure he played his typically adequate and heady defense, but it’s hard to justify that on the other end. Usually he gets a couple of easy looks, and against a smaller team, I’m surprised that he didn’t attempt a shot of any kind. Brian Howard was similarly unspectacular in 17 minutes, with his only shots coming from the free-throw line (where he was 1-for-2).
Reggie Bibb dished out 6 assists in 22 minutes as Steven Barnett battled foul trouble. Andrepont and Brandon Sims both grabbed 10 rebounds to help the effort on both ends, but I wouldn’t expect that to be so easy against bigger GSC teams. They will have to put things together and have both solid shooting and rebounding nights consistently during the conference season.
The Bisons’ impressive rebounding stretch continued, and they hung with the Sea Warriors in shooting, but turnovers negated the rebounding edge in what ended up being another very tight game statistically.
It seems like the Bisons have actually been strong, if not very consistent, on defense this year. Most years, the Bisons lag behind a little on defense and make up for it on the other end, but they have stayed with teams this year despite some lackluster offensive play. This tells me that they’re probably still trying to define themselves on the offensive end and come up with some scoring around Matt Hall. Andrepont, Sims, and Hamilton have come up with solid efforts at times, but no one has been able to relieve the Bisons consistently when Hall isn’t on the floor or isn’t hitting his shots. Steven Barnett has improved dramatically, although he still turns the ball over too much and may never be a scoring threat. I have hope for Trent Morgan if he works on his shot, and Cole Kee has gotten progressively worse.
I still have faith that the Bisons will perform in the GSC. As much as they’ve struggled on the road, I think they’ll find some things that work for them on offense and remain disruptive on defense. The effort and conditioning will have to improve, but this is still a talented team. They’re only down 3 points from their opponents in efficency in 9 Division-II games, which means they’re better than their 3-6 record indicates. They’ve also played the toughest set of D-II opponents in the division. Hopefully that will start showing through next month.
I’ll try to come up with a few basketball posts during the holidays, analyzing where teams stand before the conference season begins. This may be the most interesting GSC season in a while, unless Christian Brothers runs away with the division. Even so, there could be a lot of interesting games between a diverse set of teams once you get past the remarkably efficient Bucs.