There were good things, there were not-so-good things. But mostly good.
In a game that was expected to be a slug-through-the-mud defensive battle, it was one for about 25 minutes or so. Then the Pirates exploded, took a 20-point lead with 8 minutes left, and ended up with a nice win over long-time rival Saint Peter's.
Here are the 5 Thoughts:
- Tryptophan + 1 pm tipoffs = OOF
The Pirates, who really don't do well in early afternoon games anyway, came out looking like they had a little too much turkey in their systems (Coach Willard also said after the game they had one practice since Thanksgiving and it was a short one, so perhaps that contributed to the slow start). Saint Peter's was turning the Hall over, getting enough scoring to make their lack of board work stand up, and taking advantage of some cold outside shooting by the Pirates.
It all added up to a 30-29 Peacocks lead at the break, and it was unclear whether the Pirates would be able to respond in the second half unless they could just make some more shots. The defense was decent, but not great in the first stanza, and it continued into the second half.
- "Get Your Fu Shots Here!"
Fuquan Edwin just continues to be everything the Pirates could hope for. After 2 fouls in the first half limited his effectiveness (he still scored 7 PTS in 8 minutes), Edwin led the charge in the second.
He cut to the bucket for what seemed like 4 or 5 three-point plays, and that was before he started knocking down jumpers. His offensive success jump-started an enormous run for the Pirates in which they made shot after shot after shot off of a rash of turnovers by the Peacocks to extend a slim margin all the way up to 22 points at one point. Once Edwin got in rhythm, there wasn't anyone on Saint Peter's roster who could slow him down. He finished with 25 PTS, 6 REB, 3 AST, 2 STL and no turnovers on 10-14 shooting, 2-4 from deep, and 3-3 from the line. Can't get much better than that, folks.
- Huge-ene. Again.
Speaking of guys the Peacocks couldn't slow down, Teague was one of them. He may have had his best game so far, amassing a big double-double of 20 PTS and 11 REB, along with 4 AST and a couple BLK. When the Pirates couldn't get themselves going in the first half, the main adjustment was simply "Go to Teague." It worked to perfection again, as Gene made all of his 6 free throws and dominated even Saint Peter's heftiest bigs. Save the Washington game, Teague hasn't been stopped at all this season.
- Role reversal?
Aaron Cosby was used as the 6th man against Maine. In this game, he started as the shooting guard alongside Tom Maayan as the Pirates opted to go small with Brandon Mobley off the bench. In both games, he's had very good performances (19 PTS, 4-9 3PM vs Maine, 13 PTS, 3-8 3PM vs SPU).
It was assumed that Cosby would handle point guard duties this season, but Maayan's positive play in the first few games has relegated Cosby to his current role. And it suits him. Off the bench, or slotted at the 2 in the starting 5, he can be aggressive in looking for his own shot, which is where he is at his best. The Pirates are figuring out where some pieces fit in this first month of the season, but after the last two games, it's pretty much settled on where Cosby fits.
- Odds and Ends
Mobley made his return, coming off the bench in his first action since hyperextending his knee against Washington. He looked fine, doing some Mobley things like getting rebounds on the offensive glass, and even chasing down a Peacock in transition to swat a layup away. It looks like he'll be back to full strength soon, and his return ahead of the big LSU game on Thursday is a major plus.
Kevin Johnson also got in the game for a little bit in the second half with about 5 minutes remaining, a little earlier than expected. He scored a bucket inside as well. WIth Patrik Auda out for the season, the post rotation is in flux, and Johnson, who Coach Willard praised after the game as being "miles ahead of where (we) thought he'd be at this time" is a prime candidate to step up. He's basically another Teague down low, and there will be times this season where an extra one of those will help.
The Pirates, who came in with, erm, not the best free throw percentage in the world, made 14-16 in the game from the stripe (88%).
Also, Freddie Wilson saw exactly zero minutes today. As of right now, he's buried on the bench, lost in the shuffle of the guard rotation.
The Pirates next shuffle down to Baton Rouge to tangle with the talented LSU Tigers in the Big East- SEC Challenge. A full preview will be up on Wednesday here on the Juice, so until then, keep it locked here for all your Pirate Hoops needs!