Karrington Ward shot three-pointers and dunked
This senior forward is known for doing those sorts of things. He air-balled a couple of three-pointers in the first half, which is never fun to watch for Eagles fans. At least he did this against Rochester. But he's still shooting just fine, finishing 2-for-5 from thee-point range, 5-for-12 on the floor. He had a dunk, too. Wasn't as cool as the one he had against Oakland that made it onto Sportscenter, but he was the game's leading scorer with 14, also led the game with four steals on the other end of the floor.
"I'm kind of in a slump, I didn't shoot the ball that well today, but seeing some shots go in is good to see," Ward said after the game.
Brandon Nazione and Jodan Price needed the playing time
Neither are starters, but Nazione and Price both had 20 and 21 minutes on the floor, respectively. Can't overstate this, but they lost eight players from last season. With the newcomers like these two to fill a few roles, chemistry is going to be an issue. And it hasn't been all bad, but getting these minutes in the easy part of EMU's schedule are very important when it comes to knowing where you need to be on the floor in certain situations once February and March rolls around.
Nazione only shot 2-for-7 from the floor, but was able to draw a lot of fouls in the paint. Shooting 5-for-5 from the free throw line makes drawing said fouls that much better. After the game, head coach Rob Murphy noted that rebounding was one of his strengths. So to that, it's important to note that both he and starting guard Raven Lee both ended with seven boards a piece, most by an Eagle in this game.
"I play my shot off of my dribble, so I can get to the rim, that opens up my shot and visa-versa," Nazione said. He feels like he hasn't been great at rebounding so far this season, but is determined to keep working hard with some tougher games on the rise.
Before the season, Murphy said that Price had the potential to be the best three-point shooter in the MAC. With an 0-for-5 performance in that department, Price is now 8-for-30 after these first six games. That's not very good, but considering that he hasn't really played much since high school, these rough patches aren't much of a surprise.
"Price is running two positions right now: sometimes to two, sometimes the three... he has a tough job, but we want to get him as many minutes as we can early," Murphy said.
Starting Ethan Alvano, not Mike Talley, at point guard
I said before the season that Mike Talley would be the starting point guard for this team. I'm okay with not being right on this one. Alvano has started all six games. He, Ward, Lee, Mike Samuels and Anali Okoloji have consistently been this team's starting five.
Alvano is a true freshman. Hasn't shot very well all season (1-for-3 today), but he's still getting a lot of playing time and playing good defense as well. In 18 minutes, he put up eight points, had three assists, three steals and a block. Talley had 21 minutes off the bench, finished with 11 points (second behind Ward) shooting 4-for-7 from the floor.
"Because of how he's played all summer, through the preseason and into practice, he's proven to us that he can be a very viable part of what we're doing, but it's such a luxury to have Talley, a fifth-year senior come off of the bench," Murphy said after the game.
Many of us put a little too much emphasis on starters in sports. This is one of those times where anybody needs to wonder if Talley is hurt or underperforming. The Eagles are off to a 6-0 start and this, clearly, has not been an issue for the team in their early goings. Murphy agrees.
"At the end of the day, it's not about who starts, it's who finishes."
Free throw shooting
Nazione and Alvano were both 5-for-5 from the free throw line. Lekan Ajayi didn't see playing time until three-quarters of the way through the game, but he still went 3-for-4 from the free throw line. Lee started the game, had the same result.
For the team itself, the Eagles shot close to 72 percent from the line. 70 percent in the first half, 75 in the second. 23-for-32 all together. Making free throws helps you beat easier teams like Rochester by substantial margins like this, and beat better teams with some breathing room.
They're now shooting 68 percent from the line for the season.
They played "Sandstorm" during a timeout
Eagles were up by 32, so I didn't take Twitter very seriously. I'm not apologizing to anybody.
I love Sandstorm. This song never gets old.— Hustle Belt (@HustleBelt) November 26, 2014
dododododo dododododo beep beep dodododo dododo DODODO dododo— Hustle Belt (@HustleBelt) November 26, 2014
I think that's the words— Hustle Belt (@HustleBelt) November 26, 2014