The Mocs were down tonight. They did not play as hard as we were used to seeing, and they were sloppy. Still, Z Mason scored 41 points and collected 12 rebounds, leading the Mocs to a come from behind 86-68 win.
The Mocs did not look like themselves early in the game. They wound up falling behind by as many as six points. They trailed 36-30 late in the first half. The Mocs then went on a big run, and early in the second half took a commanding lead that put the thing out of reach.
But this game was disturbing. I expected the Mocs to come out and play hard and show how much they had improved since their last game against Georgia. This was anything but that. This game showed the Mocs committing 17 turnovers. This game showed Gee McGhee scoring zero points. Ouch.
The best news of the night was the appearance of Rico White for the first time this year. He played just five minutes coming back from the hip injury, but he got into the action. That's huge for him, and could be big for the team as we progress forward. He is one of the more natural scorers and shooters on the team in the past. If he can be healthy, he can be a critical player on this team.
Casey Jones did score 17 points and Martynas Bareika also scored 10, but the star of the night was clearly Mason, who no one could handle. He made 16 of 20 from the floor, including 3 of 4 from three point range, and 6 of 10 from the free throw line. Mason had one of the better games you will ever see a Moc had and was the first player to score over 40 points for the Mocs since Ricky Taylor against UNCG in 2011.
The Mocs have a winnable game at Northern Kentucky on Sunday. It is a very important game. This is not an easy game by any means, but the Mocs could really use a road win. Can the Mocs get the win up there? That's tough to know from here. The important thing is that despite the Mocs being pretty lousy on Tuesday night, they came up with the win and maybe knocked off a little rust. We'll see what develops on Sunday.