An Exhibition? More Like a Reality Check

Usually when you think about somebody calling something an “exhibition” you sort of think of the term as “to show publicly especially for purposes of competition or demonstration.”  Some people see it more as the demonstration part instead of the competition.  Today’s “exhibition” game against Central Missouri turned out to not be a demonstration but instead a competition.

I wasn’t going to post something until I actually saw the game.  However, with the complaints people had of even watching the live video stream today, I’ll just go with what I heard. I’m driving down the highway today in western Nebraska and yes you can hear Big Sports 590 in Atchinson, NE.  I was hoping to watch the game this evening, but it isn’t avaialble yet and the On Demand archives are only as recent as early October, so I bet it won’t be on there for quite a while.

Anyway, the story of the game for me is that you play like you practice and if today’s indication is any sign, then the Jays have a little work to do before next Sunday’s opening game against New Mexico.  Turnovers, turnovers, turnovers.  The Jays had way too many which resulted in 24 points for the Central Missouri Mules.  Offensive rebounds were another as there were 14 second chance points.  And finally, too many open 3’s for the mules that if they were not 2-22, then the Jays could have suffered a loss.  They did just enough in the first 5-8 minutes of the game to hold on to win 78-65.

Creighton was out of the gates in a hurry and got that 12-15 point lead right away and sort of just tried to keep Central Missouri from getting too close.  Maybe it was nerves maybe it was excitement.  I know I would have a little of both.  I understand how that closed door scrimmage probably really helped the team, but having an extra game in front of a crowd would probably help tame the nerves.

Here’s the good–We found out today that Kenny Lawson has some backup in Kenton Walker.  It sounds like from the time Kenton got into the game until the final whistle, he was making plays getting rebounds, blocking shots, taking charges.  To me he was the story of the game finishing with 14 points and 8 rebounds.  Yes Kenny started the game and led the team with 16 points, but Kenton sounded like he was out there with a purpose.  He was probably motivated by the fact that the first guy to come in and play behind Kenny at the 5 position was Chad Millard.  However Chad seemed to get lost in the shuffle after the explosion by Kenton and Chad only ended up playing 8 minutes.   We’ll have to see.

Another interesting story in the game was that Josh Dotzler and Cavel Witter were on the floor at the same time a few times during the game.  Cavel moved over to the 2-guard and that gives the Jays an opportunity for a few things.  #1–Two great ball handlers to get the team moving and down the court and #2–The opportunity to get Antoine Young on the floor.  Listing to T. Scott and Nick Bahe, it sounded like Antoine has quite the speed and intensity that will bring another dimension to the team.  But the other side of the coin is that with Witter playing some SG, I almost think barring injury, that Josh Jones might be looking at a redshirt.  It just creates a log jam I think for the 2-guard spot–Witter, Booker Woodfox, and P’Allen Stinnett are already competing for time there.  The other downside is that I hope it doesn’t keep Cavel from making “simple plays” and keeping from making turnovers as he led the team with 4 today.  Josh D. had a solid day at the point just leading the team and doing the little things.

Speaking of P’Allen, he seemed quiet on the radio broadcast, but he had a solid day.  Only one turnover with all the times he had the ball and looking for teammates with four assists is a nice deal.  Booker Woodfox was also the solid instant offense and at the same time a quiet contribution for him as well and showed the moved back 3-point line didn’t bother him any as he hit 2 of the 3 three pointers for the Jays today.

Casey Harriman got the start today and took a few great charges.  Kaleb Korver got a few great offensive rebounds.  Between him and Kaleb Korver, those two guys both played the gritty minutes and showed that they can do more than just shoot.  If anyone remembers the Jeffony Tolliday (combo minutes of Jeff Day and Anthony Tolliver) a couple seasons back, maybe we have a Caseb Koriman player this season :)

I haven’t even mentioned Justin Carter today, but I think I will give him a pass as it sounded like he struggled a little bit with his shooting from the field, free throws and holding onto the basketball.  However, he did have the good in getting 7 rebounds.  He has been given a lot of buildup to the season (myself included) and yet we have to remember that he is still adjusting to a new program and a new environment.  I think we will see a different player next Sunday.

All in all, I think today’s game is a good reality check for the Jays to make sure they don’t fall into the trap of the hype that the Jays team two seasons ago fell into.  There was talk of a tougher press.  However, they can’t in turn give those turnovers back.  They are definitely not unbeatable, but the talent is there to take them far.

Other Notes–The Omaha World Herald had their College Basketball Preview in today’s paper (only the print edition).  A nice preview of both the Valley and the Big 12 (However, I thought having Nebraska picked to finish 7th in the Big 12 this season in my Rush the Court preview was optimistic, but the OWH have the Huskers picked to finish 6th. ) In the preview there are also some words from Tom Shatel.

Iowa St. beat UNO by 20 points in their Exhibition game today.

It is nice to see Anthony Tolliver make his debut with the Spurs this past week and he made a nice contribution.  Looking forward to seeing more.

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