Mosley, Defense Beat Jackets

1/15/2012 8:32:16 PM This game could not have started any uglier... but in the end, heck, I wouldn't have kicked it out of my bed!

Sean Mosley has gotten a lot of flack on this site and others over the years, but everyone who watched their win over Georgia Tech can say just what Jackets coach Brian Gregory said after this one:  "He flat out won them that game."

Earlier in the season, if Terrell Stoglin was off or taken out of the game, you knew we were toast.  But this team has come a long way.  They still aren't good enough on a consistent basis to make us believe there is a Big Dance in the cards for this year, but look at the defense we played against Iona and then look at today.

They flat out defended today.  Sure, Tech missed some open shots, but it's because our defense was so good for most of the game, you could see they rushed their open shots because they knew we were coming.  We were in their heads.  Our guys' hands were everywhere.  If we play that kind of defense for the remainder of the season, perhaps they will have a chance to dance.

Another thing that stood out to me while watching that second half was this:  All those games over the past month that we sweated through helped this team withstand the mini runs that Tech put on us in the second half.  Great teams take that 10 point lead and make it 18.  We are not a great team right now.  But every time the Jackets cut it to 7 or 5, we answered.  Playing those tough second halves against the "creampuffs" of the world helped us get through that.  I never saw panic in their eyes.  There was no way to tell if the Terps were going to take a bad shot, but even when they did, they never looked scared of blowing the game.  That has helped this team grow much more than a bunch of blowout victories would have.

Now back to Mosley.  I can't give the guy enough credit for this win.  He was leading the way in ending those Tech runs.  When we needed a big 3, he drilled it.  When Pe'shon was having some issues running the offense, Mosley got everyone calm and ran it.  When we had two huge 1-and-1's, Mosley calmly drilled every free throw he attempted.  Huge props to the senior on this one.

Now to the improvements.  While the defense has improved, they are still trying to find their way on the offensive side.  Alex Len only took 3 shots the entire game and while he was a factor on defense, he was barely visable on offense.  The guys have to do a better job getting him involved so we can play a little inside-outside.  That way, we get some open shots and if they miss, James Padgett and Len can get in there and try to get the offensive board. 

Pe'shon has to play better as well.  5 turnovers aint gonna do it.  He still seems tentative at times and while it's understandable considering the injury, new system, and new teammates, there is no margin for error with the schedule coming up. He must improve.

Nick Faust had a nice bounce back game against Georgia Tech. He did exactly what we need him to do by playing tough defense, making steals and finishing strong. What he can't do is dribble the ball. So don't.  Work around screens, get open, and drive to the hoop.

So where does that put us now?  Most of us expected/hoped we would be sitting at 2-1 after 3 ACC games and we are.  We are much improved, but still a major work in progress.  This week will be telling.  Are we good enough to steal one on the road?  We can pray that Florida State has a bit of a letdown after their bitch-slapping of UNC and we can come in and get one.  As for Temple at 11am on a Saturday morning.  Who the hell knows how we'll react to that one. 

All I know is if we continue to play solid defense, get at least 2 players to have good offensive games, we will have a chance to win one or both of those games. We didn't seem that intimidated in Raleigh last week, so I wouldn't think the road games will bother us much, especially since Tallahassee and Philly aren't Cameron Indoor.

It may have been ugly for a time on Sunday, but I'm going to bed with a smile after our senior led us to victory.
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