Friday, January 31, 2014

Furman Preview: Bouncing Back

The Mocs loss to Davidson on Thursday was not unexpected. But the utter domination that was
experienced by the Mocs was slightly astonishing. Now, the Mocs have to return home and play good basketball, less than 48 hours later. The Mocs need a win to stay on track for a SoCon bye, and get back onto the winning track.

The Mocs are in an interesting situation. This is the second time they have played a team for a second time. They beat Wofford by one the first time they played them and then fourteen the second time. They beat Furman by nine the first time they played. What will the Mocs do in McKenzie Arena on Saturday night as they try to bounce back?

Ironically, the first time the Mocs played a team for a second time, they had a week off to prepare for the game. Now, Furman also did not play on Thursday (because the weather did not permit Samford to travel to Greenville). So, the Paladins come in well rested.

It will be interesting to see how this game differs from the first. In the first game, Stephen Croone scored 19 for Furman, while Kendrec Ferrara scored 13. The Mocs got 23 offensive rebounds to the Paladins 26 defensive rebounds. Casey Jones had 13 points, 13 rebounds, and eight assists. Z Mason scored 20 with 13 rebounds and six blocks. Rico White had 13 points, while Martynas Bareika scored just 5 points. The Mocs shot 6 of 21 from three point range on the game.

Furman ranks 11th in the SoCon in TO%. The Paladins are the fourth best shooting team in eFG% in the SoCon, but rank 9th in defensive eFG%. This is a below average rebounding team, that shoots the ball pretty well, but turns over the ball too much and isn't a great defensive team.

Stephen Croone is the Paladins best player. He can drive to the basket and make things happen. He did an OK job of that against the Mocs in the first game, but was not quite as effective as he has been in other games.

The real breakout star for the Paladins since that game has been Ferrara. He is getting better every game it seems like. He is an effective inside player for the Paladins. The 6-9 sophomore is growing in confidence, and could present a match-up problem for the Mocs.

Larry Wideman is another effective Paladin. He is averaging just 7.2 points per game. He has made the most three pointers on the team. He's made 38. William Gates Jr is the best three point shooter on the team, shooting 45.7% from long distance. Charlie Reddick seems to be getting back to himself. He scored 28 points in the last two games combined. That's effective. He may finally be getting back to himself after the injury.


The Mocs are going to play a lousy first ten minutes as the Mocs struggle to get over the blowout loss to Davidson. But Furman will not be able to build a big lead. At that point, the Mocs will wake up. Bareika will play a good game in front of the home crowd. Jones will continue to bring his top game. Mason will step up and play a phenomenal second half and the Mocs will pull away in the final ten minutes and win it fairly easily. It's a big night for the Mocs. This is a game that they need to win and bounce back. They'll get it done, despite the struggle to slow down Croone. Mocs 78, Paladins 65.


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