The Mocs jumped out to a thirteen point lead against Grand Canyon on Sunday night, getting ahead 25-12. The defense looked the best they had looked all year. The offense looked a little bit better early on.
Then, the Mocs went into one of their patented slumps. They went five minutes without scoring a point, and suddenly they found themselves in a dog fight.
In the end, the Mocs found a way to hold on and to win the game and there is nothing to complain about that. They played some zone out of Chaos for much of the game. The Antelopes did not have a lot of ability to drive the ball towards the basket with their guards, and the Mocs defense magically looked a lot better. The Antelopes shot 36.4% from the floor for the night. This is the sort of team that the Mocs are going to be able to contain on the defensive side of the floor.
Rico White looked more like himself tonight. He scored 11 points. His injury has been plaguing him for sure, and finally he looked more like himself tonight. That is very important to this team. If Rico can contribute like that, then this team will be much better in 2014 than they were in 2013. He scored 11 points.
Lance Stokes did not start, and scored ten points. Stokes is long and continues to show some effectiveness and effort. Gee McGhee scored just one point on a free throw. He is in an epic shooting slump right now. He will probably eventually get going again during SoCon play. He needs to.
Martynas Bareika made two threes on four shots. He needs to continue shooting the ball well.
Of course, nothing would be complete without mentioning Z Mason. Mason scored sixteen points with eleven rebounds and four blocks. Having Mason back made a huge difference. He can play offensively and defensively. Listening to him on the postgame show made it sound like his foot is not particularly bothering him. He needs to take it easy, but the Mocs really need him to play well to win consistently.
So the Mocs collected their second D1 win of the year and are 5-8 overall now. They will battle Maine (the shocking winner in game one of the Dr Pepper Classic over Middle Tennessee in overtime) in the Championship Game tomorrow night and have a chance to get to 6-8 overall and collect a second straight D1 win heading into SoCon play. That would be very good for the Mocs as they could carry momentum into SoCon play. This has traditionally been the time when they start building up momentum for SoCon play and this is another opportunity to do it. They are playing in the Championship Game for the 23rd time in 24 years, and will be trying to win their sixteenth in 24 years on Monday night. Should be a great night.