Oh what a night!
The Mocs were down 19, calls were going against them, bounces weren't going their way, and then suddenly....BOOM!
The Mocs turned it on with six and a half minutes left. Z Mason and Dontay Hampton stepped up in a big way, and Rico White, Gee McGhee, and even Drazen Zlovaric played very well. Mason scored 23 points, while Hampton scored 22 points. Rico White scored 17, including four huge free throws down the stretch of overtime when the Mocs needed them most.
They let Appalachian State made 12 of 26 threes on the night, and came inches away from making 13 of 26 as the last attempt hit off the back of the rim.
Z Mason worked really hard. He came up with eight offensive rebounds and eleven total rebounds. Appalachian State only collected nine offensive boards on the night. So Z nearly came up with as many offensive rebounds as the entire Mountaineers team.
Mason is excellent. His work ethic and dilligence is through the roof. His scoring is great. Again, he is turning into one of the top players in the SoCon. He may be one of the preseason favorites for Player of the Year next year. Mason is kind of underappreciated by Moc fans. Sometimes I take him for granted. He is so good.
With Drazen Zlovaric underachieving so much this year, Mason has been even more critical to this team, and he has done it. Zlovaric showed a couple of signs of coming out of it tonight, but needs to continue it on Saturday night in a big way.
Also, people have ripped Dontay Hampton for being a former walk-on. But the fact is that he has been even better than I thought he would be when he came back. I expected Farad Cobb to take over the starting point guard spot permanently (and he well might from here), but Hampton has been superb. Cobb has been good too. The Mocs have been so much better since Cobb joined the starting lineup and Hampton came back. The turnovers have dropped dramatically, and the Mocs offense has looked much more in sync. That's why now they are 5-2 in those seven games (and 6-2 in the last eight if you go back to the Reinhardt game).
The Mocs win was great. It was a memorable night to be a Mocs fan. Not much time to savor it. Time to move on to Saturday.