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A thriller with a sad ending

November 17th, 2015 Leave a comment Go to comments

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The Mustangs were part of one of the most exciting games to ever be played on Drag’s Court, unfortunately they came out on the short end 107-108 against Northern New Mexico College after it took 4 overtime periods to decided the issue.

There were a lot of positives to take away from the night, as well as some negatives that have to improve. Willy McCray exploded on the night for 39 points, just missing the WNMU single game record by a point. He made some key shots, showed that he can get to the basket and finish, as well as hitting some key free throws down the stretch. He also played good defense and handled the ball well.

Carter Aby also came up with some big plays, including a three point shot to extend the game beyond the 2nd OT stanza. He’s not strong but played passably well inside and got some key rebounds and blocked or altered a few shots to force misses. Carter will get stronger and needs to play a bit more aggressively on defense, but there is a ton of potential there.

The Mustangs turned it over 33 times, essentially in a game and a half, but that’s still way too many mistakes. We also got out boarded by a ton. It didn’t help that Makhtar Fall fouled out early in the 2nd half. His presence inside was missed. Big Mac can be more aggressive offensively, looking for his shot more, as he’s got strength to create space and a nice soft touch.

One of the keys to staying in the game was the play of the younger/newer players. Emery Range had a double/double, very quietly. But at key points and for most of the OT, it was McCray, Aby, Range, Enriquez, Van Den Kerkhoff, and Weeks on the floor. Loucks, Williams, Tanter were all in foul trouble or not effective and on the bench. The performance of the young guys gives us reason to hope that the team will continue to improve as the season moves along.

Free throw shooting was good in regulation, 75% from the stripe in both halves, but it dropped significantly in the OT periods, as did overall shooting. Some of the shot selection in OT needed to improved, a few shots were taken too early in the rotation and the shooter was off balance or not squared up to the basket. Those things should improve as players get more comfortable with the system and their role in the overall scheme.

There is a lot of improving to do, defensively especially, but the light is there. It just needs to get brighter quickly. There will certainly be ups and downs but these are the types of games that the Stangs should feel confident that they can win in the future.

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