Notes, quotes and observations from the first game of the World Vision Classic against the Nevada Wolfpack.
Any time you lose a game in the final seconds there are going to be so many plays that go through your head where you say, "What if?"
What it Marquis Horne doesn't foul Nevada's Deonte Burton to give them an And-one, and eventually the game-winning free throw, with 14 seconds left to play. What if D. J. Seeley elevates or attacks just a bit more and dunks the ball instead of going for the finger role only to get it swatted away in the final second of play. What if Kwame Vaughn makes that final free throw with 33 seconds left? What if we had just one fewer turnover or one more rebound or got one more call?
Bottom line is the Titans have started the season 0-2 and, thankfully, there's not a lot of time to go over the many What if's between last nights heartbreaker and tonight's game against Southern Utah.
Unlike the Stanford game, these were clearly home-town referees. To the Titan players and coaches credit, they never complained and took it to the chin like champions and almost pulled out the win.
Some of the Titan faithful thought the last second layin attempt by Seeley was goal-tending but I felt it was too close to call and there was no way, even if it was, we were going to get that bucket.
The Titans game plan was simply brilliant. Anyone who thinks that head coach Andy Newman is too young -- he's not, he's 37 -- or in experienced or is in over his head, has no idea what they are talking about.
The continuous substitutions to keep the players fresh in the high-altitude playing environment could not have been executed any better. A ton of credit to interim-interim head coach Julius Hicks. He is another coach who will get a shot at a leading a DI program and the future team will be better for it.
In fact, seeing this entire staff up close I have come away thoroughly impressed and we are lucky to have all of them. Very, very lucky. Give an assist to legendary head coach Bob Burton as well.
"We need to sustain our effort over 40 minutes to win a Div. I game. We had too many peaks and valleys." have to agree with Hicks on this one but they did play hard, just need to play one play smarter.
Hicks is likely referring to three or four possessions where we simply could not get the ball back until it went in the basket, despite numerous stops.
Thought Alex Harris was in for another long night but he came up big in the second half. He still just needs to play with more confidence and it needs to start defensively. With his super quickness there is no reason he could not have had at least 5 steals. I foresee tremendous improvement as the season progresses.
Continue to be be very impressed with freshman Jared Brandon. Playing against much bigger and more experienced players, he is mature beyond his years.
Sammy Yeager is playing as expected and that's no easy thing to do. Great player on both ends and will come up clutch when given the opportunity.
In two games, we still haven't got a full game out of the combined efforts of our only two post players. 33 minutes, 9 fouls, 6 rebounds, 6 points from Horne and Deuce Johnson. Horne needs to play smarter and Johnson just looked winded as he was effective in spurts.
Once Horne learns to cut down on the fouls, he has unlimited potential.
Obviously tough to lose this game, as we led pretty much wire-to-wire, but it's early and we are a growth stock and the dividends will start paying out soon enough.