Takeaways: Mansfield Exhibition
The Bonnies easily dispatched Mansfield on Saturday afternoon in their one and only exhibition game. SBU held Mansfield to just 18 points at the half and had put 59 on the board themselves. There’s no doubt it was an impressive showing for the team but after the game head coach Mark Schmidt said his team played “C or B-” basketball; so there’s clearly room for growth. Again, you can’t put much stock in these games vs. non-division one teams but here’s just a few takeaways from Saturday’s tilt.
- The Defense was Impressive- Listen D1 team or not holding a team to 18 points in 20 minutes, 48 total points on 31% shooting and forcing 21 turnovers is pretty darn good. SBU was swarming on the defense end and showed a good energy about them. Their 3/4 court press was sound and helped the Bonnies turn turnovers into fast-break dunks and lay-ups. This will be key for SBU this season since size is an issue…the best way to beat size is to race up the floor and score before that size can get back. Leading the charge here was Jay Adams and Idris Taqqee who combined to force seven steals. Derrick Woods even had three of his own. More of this on Friday would be huge.
- Denzel Gregg Looked Terrific- We have said before that there’s no question Gregg is the team’s X-factor. Everyone knows it including Schmidt whose said this same thing himself. So when the junior wasn’t named a starter I was a bit worried about what that meant about his play in practice. So, even though it’s only one game, Gregg’s 23 points, eight rebounds on 7-11 shooting was fantastic to see. He even knocked down two three pointers and showed a much improved jump shot. If Gregg is going to play anything like that this season the Bonnies will have a great 6th man each night. There’s no doubt this kid is an A10 talent, he just needs to be consistent.
- Derrick Woods Tried to do Too Much- Woods looked like a kid who was playing in his first college game. He had runs of quality play but for the most part he looked a bit lost. Woods turned the ball over a team high five times and committed five fouls in 26 minutes. When had got the ball in the post he often tried to put it on the deck or took too long to pass out of double teams. He has to improve his decision making process on the blocks and move the rock. Do your job: Rebound, defend and score on those rebounds and easy bucks. He will learn and develop as all freshman do, but SBU needs better than this from their big man most night to win. I don’t mean to be too hard on the kid but the fact of the matter is he’s going to have to learn quickly on the job because of the team’s lack of depth. It starts on Friday for real.
- Kaputo Looked Very Good- Someone on Twitter said to me during the game, “Kaputo already looks better than Alston”. I said based off about seven minutes that statement appeared to be very true. The Canadian product looked the part each step of the way. He scored 11 points off the bench, dished out four helpers and nailed three deep balls with his lefty jump shot. Kaputo had the same type of calming presence that Jay Adams showed last season. Again, you want to taper expectations (remember what the other Jay Adams did vs. this team and Darmouth?) but Nelson Kaputo looks like he’s going to be a really solid player in the backcourt. Fingers crossed.
- Idris Taqqee did what Schmidt said he would do- Schmidt has long called Taqqee a glue guy, a jack of all trades and a master of none. Taqqee started, scored 12 points, had 13 rebounds, 3 assists, 4 steals and shot 4-9 from the floor. His jumper looked a bit better (4-5 from the line) but the bottom line is this is the type of game we need from the sophomore (Obviously he cannot average these numbers). Taqqee needs to be a guy who rebounds well, defends, and does the little things to help this team win. It would be nice if he could score enough to help take pressure off the “Big 3” but he can help this team big time even with limited offensive production.