The Bears took on San Diego State at 1:00 pm today at the Ferrell Center as part of ESPN's Tip-Off Marathon. The Bears won 77-67 against a good SDS team that should compete for the MWC Championship if they can survive their OCS. Thus far the pattern for the Bears appears to be something like this:
1.) generate little to no offense in the first half
2.) start the second half with a great run that seizes control of the game
3.) turn up the defense
4.) get complacent with under 5 minutes remaining allowing the opponent to close the gap.
Actually, this may have been the Bears pattern for more than just season but I digress. While the recipe has worked for the first three games of the season, it will not work later in the year, especially when Big XII play starts. Despite my gripes for perfection a full three games in, the Bears are showing some encouraging signs already this season.
1.) Rebounding is better, but there is always room for improvement. One particular board stood out in my mind this afternoon, and that was Corey Jefferson blocking out and going sky-high to get the ball at the apex of his jump Timing is everything and Jefferson has it.. By the time he is done at Baylor, that young man will be an incredible player.
2.) Defensive pressure is WAY better and covers the length of the court. I love the combination of Walton and Pierre in the backcourt. Deuce Bello is already a great defender, but cannot commit silly fouls like the one at the first half in today's game, which gave the Aztecs an and-1 and cut the lead to 2.
3.) Pierre Jackson finds the open guy as evidence by his 9 assists tonight. Sure he had 4 turnovers, but he can reduce those and at least one was a travel. I expect Jackson to assume the starting role no later than the start of Big XII play, and I see no reason why he shouldn't start next game. The guy is a winner.
4.) Bears are showing the ability work inside out. Heslip was able to knock down five 3s tonight and those open looks are a result of the touches Miller and Acy are getting in high and low post and from Jackson's ability to drive the lane.
5.) Quincy Miller. Need I say more? No, it is a rhetorical question so move on.
6.) Could the Bears be any longer? Not a rhetorical question and the answer is: yes, actually they can. Perry and Morgan are currently only donning street clothes. The length and athleticism on this team is incredible. The Bears can contest every shot, and Drew is doing a good job of mixing his defenses so as not to let the opponent get comfortable.
6.) Granted they only played teams haling from the SWAC and MWC but the Bears are winning games without Big XII Preseason POY, PJ3. I cannot wait to see what this team is capable of when he returns to the lineup.
Would loved to have seen how the game ended but for some reason ESPN thought I actually cared about seeing the tip-off between Rhode Island and Team Canada playing in Austin. Doesn't ESPN have a special network that game should be aired on or is it still not available to the thousands of UT fans that have never set foot on the 40 Acres?
Extra: San Diego's State best athlete ever has to be Marshall Faulk, right?