Well, that was impressive.
Yes, that was against Hiwassee, probably the weakest team on the Mocs schedule this year. Still, the Mocs jumped out to a 12-1 lead and did not give the Tigers a glimmer of a hope. The Mocs dominated the glass, collecting 54 rebounds to the Tigers 27, and allowed the Tigers to shoot just 36% from the floor, including just 18.8% from three point range. They also forced 25 turnovers.
The Mocs committed sixteen turnovers of their own, which was a large part of the problem. That and that the Mocs shot just 33% from three point range and 65.9% from the free throw line.
But the new guys were very impressive. Justin Tuoyo scored eleven points and collected thirteen rebounds. Chuck Ester added nine points and six rebounds. Duke Ethridge also had thirteen points and six rebounds. Shaq Preston had eleven points and four rebounds.
It was a good start for all the newcomers. Tuoyo showed a lot of good moves and was more impressive with the ball than I expected him to be.
Of course, this is not particularly surprising. Hiwassee is a winless team and the Mocs should have won by a lot against the Tigers. The challenges increase drastically on Sunday. When they play at Wisconsin, the Mocs will face a serious step up in competition. A bigger step up is just about not possible in the country.
Are the Mocs ready for that step up? We'll find out Sunday.
Tonight, it was obvious how much more athletic and deeper this team is than they were last year. The difference seemed pretty clear tonight. There was never any real doubt that this team would look better against Hiwassee than they looked last year at times. It's almost unfair. But the Mocs looked like a really solid club on Friday night and that's exciting. There is a lot of hope for the future. How does that translate into Sunday?
We'll all just wait and find out.