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Mustang Basketball shows promise in two losses

November 15th, 2015 Leave a comment Go to comments

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WNMU basketball is in another rebuilding mode after a dismal season last year. But there seems to be some cause for hope in watching the team’s openers at Oklahoma Panhandle State on Friday and Saturday. If the Mustangs can learn to shoot free throws and not turn the ball over a million times a game, we’ll be at worst competitive and we’ll have a chance to win some games. I can say one thing, we look more like a college basketball team than we have in a couple of years.

In the season opener, WNMU outshot OPSU percentage wise, 40% to 37%; out rebounded the Aggies 49-34 (I don’t think we’ve had that big a margin in a decade); and had more points in the paint, fast break points and bench points. But we had 37 turnovers which led to 23 points in a 21 point defeat. Not to mention we hit only 12-22 free throw attempts and were 1-14 from downtown. The turnovers allowed OPSU to take 75 shots compared to our 55.

In game two, a 9 point loss, it was more of the same but not on as big of a scale. We improved our shooting percentage to 46%, including a 50% clip in the first half, while OPSU hit only 38% & 19% from downtown. We won the rebounding battle again, 44-36 and our bench added 26 points to 12 from their bench. But we went 10-22 from the charity stripe, the Aggies were 27-35. The Stangs had 23 turnovers leading to 23 points for the home team. You can’t overcome that many mistakes.

The Mustangs have some young players who are going to have to learn but each improved in the second game so maybe there’s some hope to see this team get better as the season progresses.

Bright spots include transfer Makhtar Fall, 6-8 220 Sr, who led the Mustangs in scoring and rebounding both nights; 14 & 9 followed by 16 & 7 in the second game. He gives WNMU an inside presence that we’ve haven’t had in a decade.

Emery Range, 6-5 190 Jr, is another player not afraid to get the ball inside. He added 5 pts and 8 rebounds followed by a double/double, 11 & 11.

Steven Loucks, the returning Jr 6-7 190, didn’t see a lot of playing time on night one due to foul trouble getting 5 pts and 2 boards in 16 mins but he came back strong with a double/double as well, 11 pts & 10 rebounds.

There are several young guys with potential to grow into solid players and maybe a couple of stars in the group. Jordan Enriquez, Carter Aby, & Willie McCray all saw significant playing time and contributed to the effort. They will be inconsistent early but look for them to grow quickly into their roles.

Brandon Tanter, Brandon Williams, and Adam Kessler will all see more playing time, but one of them needs to step up and seize the role of floor leader as the ball handler. They’ve got to be enough of a scoring threat, driving inside, to keep defenses honest and they’ve got to protect the ball. Some of those turnovers are not on them, with a lot of new faces, guys don’t always know where to be and when the PG is trying to move the ball quickly, errant passes happen. It’s just like the timing between a QB and a WR.

There is room to hope based upon the performances at OPSU. Panhandle is a team that is similar to ours, they are coming off of a bad season with a lot of new faces. We just need to protect the ball, find a couple of consistent scorers and continue to rebound, block shots and hustle. We’ll get some wins if that happens.

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