The Mocs finally got on the winning track with an eleven point win over IUPUI. It was a relatively easy win, despite a few scary moments in the second half.
Z Mason poured in 27 points. Gee McGhee and Casey Jones each scored 14. Jones and Mason also collected nine rebounds, as the Mocs dominated the Jaguars on the glass. The Mocs once again played with the energy that has highlighted many of these early season losses.
The five starters all played over thirty minutes for the Mocs. All five starters scored in double figures. Lance Stokes put up 13 points, which was his best offensive night of the year. Casey Jones had one of his better games, as he seemed to be all around the ball in the first half.
The Mocs only forced eight turnovers while committing seventeen. Amazingly, the Mocs were able to hold the Jaguars to 76 points without forcing turnvoers. A night after allowing Morehead State to shoot 72% from the floor, IUPUI shot just 45.6%, while shooting 38.5% from three point range. The Mocs defense, in the halfcourt, was the best it has been all year long. They won this game, and held IUPUI to a reasonable point total without the benefit of turnovers. This was a very positive development.
The Mocs have just one win over D1 teams, but they have been playing better than that record indicates, nearly beating Kennesaw State and Nevada both. If the Mocs had come up with both those wins, they wouldn't really be a better team, but they would be 5-3 overall and 3-3 against D1 competition. The Mocs are still learning how to win games. It was nice to win this game without needing to win in a nailbiter. They still need to win the nailbiter game, but they haven't gotten there yet.
The Mocs went to a shorter bench, and maybe that's the way to go right now. The starting five playe 167 out of 200 minutes. Robertson and Bareika combined to play 26 of the remaining 33 minutes. So it was a much shorter rotation that what had been happening. The Mocs starters responded by playing well. The Mocs basically stayed out of foul trouble, other than Gee McGhee who fouled out. That made a big difference in the ability to keep the starters on the floor. That may be the strategy for a while.
We'll see what happens at Georgia.