Ah, the Holidays. They are great. The bad part is that sometimes family takes priority of other things. Being technology free for about 4-5 days really has a shock to the system as well. I was sort of bummed I didn’t do a preview for the Jays-Shockers game tonight. To me this is more of a rivalry at times than it is with Southern Illinois. I guess maybe it is a regional thing. Maybe it was Jamar Howard that kept a bad taste in my mouth. I don’t know.
Today, there are not the prolific players to hate, but more like the coach. In the couple of seasons Mr. Marshall has been around, he hasn’t come off to me as a real pleasant guy. He cuts off radio interviews, has little fits and just can’t seem to have any better success than when he was at Winthrop. He just makes me laugh. Now to the actual game. It was really too bad this game was played during the holidays. He didn’t get nearly enough guff from the fans, except maybe the “Sign Guy” who made his triumphant return tonight reminding Coach Marshall that he earned over $68000 per win last season as coach of the Shockers.
Oh yeah and I guess on his post game show Marshall called out Coach Altman on running a lob alley-oop play up by 16 points with 50 seconds left after the last timeout. He said ‘that would come back to haunt them’. Ok. Whatever you say. I’m not exactly sure what he is talking about because I never saw that play. Oh well. Now on to the game.
Tonight the Jays beat the Shockers again in Omaha. Wichita St. hasn’t won in Omaha since 1992. Another sign that points that this is really a rivalry is that tonights attendance was 17,954, the largest crowd to watch a game of college basketball in the state of Nebraska ever. The game started out slow as the team and the crowd were still getting over the holiday cheer and the comatose Qwest Center looked like it could come alive at any moment, but the Shockers stayed close and until a little run to end the half looked like this might be a snoozer, but shouldn’t be because it was so close. It was like the crowd sort of knew the Jays would win and wasn’t too concerned, but it still bothered me that this “largest” crowd ever had no energy at times.
Justin Carter really had the breakout game he needed tonight getting 11 points and 7 rebounds. Those numbers may not say that much, but it seemed like he was always getting the key rebounds and really came out of the gates with a lot of energy. He also had a massive block in the later part of the game and hit a sealing three-pointer that sent the crowd to the gates.
Kenton Walker also got some good minutes tonight as he played tough to the rim and had some nice moves. The combination of Kenton and Chad Millard played well tonight. The stats may not show it, but really were a force in there to make up for the ineffectiveness of Kenny Lawson.
Once the Jays got the ball in Booker Woodfox’s hands, magic seems to happen and it seemed like his baskets were the things that really got the crowd going tonight. Other than the drunk guy up in the Perch that was yelling non-sense the whole game, Booker Woodfox provided the rest of the entertainment from the crowd.
Now the Jays hit the road for two games which will really test this team. Indiana St. had a thrilling double-overtime win over Northern Iowa on the road and has really sparked up play since Harry Marshall has returned. And it will be interesting to see if the Illinois St. team is really all it is cracked up to be.