Once again, I asked the Big Blue Nation what they wanted to see ahead of our game against Ohio.
Let's take a look back at some of your responses and see how we did!
Aaron gets it. Winning always comes first, and the Cats did just that, beating Ohio 77-59. However, we did not get off to a good start by any standard. We fell down 18-10 early. Our starting center and the nation's leader in rebounds, Oscar Tshiebwe, picked up 2 fouls in 1 minute and 6 seconds. Our back up center, Daimion Collins, picked up 2 fouls himself just 3 minutes and 13 seconds after being put in for Oscar.
However, I am actually very happy we got hit with adversity early in the game. Every year, our team has a moment where they are knocked down early and we have to see if they can get back up. We learned yesterday that this team is filled with guys up and down the roster who are going to fight when there number is called, regardless of the circumstances of the game.
I, too, am a huge believer of what Keion Brooks will bring to our team this year. I think his impact will come in a variety of different ways; some games it may be defense and rebounding, and others it may be spacing the floor by knocking down 3's. Yesterday Keion went off by just getting buckets for the entirety of the game. With a frontcourt in heavy foul trouble, Keion stepped up by scoring 22 points on an efficient 50% shooting, as well as knocking down all 4 of his free throws.
Yes, he did make some dumb turnovers. Yes, a couple of those mid range shots weren't my favorite either. But this just shows that Keion is already capable of being one of the go-to veteran scorers on this team, and STILL has lots of room to grow.
Daimion Collins did not have another breakout game like he did against Robert Morris. But Bryce Hopkins sure did! When Tshiebwe and Collins went to the bench with 2 fouls, Hopkins came in and absolutely fought. In the first half, he put up 7 points, 7 rebounds, and most importantly, helped our team overcome an 8 point deficit to a 2 point halftime lead. Huge game for the frosh!
Speaking of freshmen, how about TyTy Washington! TyTy has gotten better and better with every single game he played. Last night, he put up team highs in not only points (25), but with big men in foul trouble, TyTy lead our teams in rebounds (11) as well! I always say that our best players do not rely on just their scoring to help our team. TyTy contributed and looked improved in all facets of his game last night.
To see how much he has improved just over half of the month of November makes me excited thinking about how good he will be come March.
I joined all three of y'all in hoping that Grady would get more looks. I am not sure if it is Grady's lack of aggressiveness or just Cal and/or our guards not setting up the looks that Grady needs, but he once again was not a huge piece of our offense. In 20 minutes of play, he ended with just 2 shots and 0 points.
Luckily, our other veteran guard Davion Mintz played his best game of the year, putting up a statline of 12-8-3 while playing lockdown defense all game. It was great to see our other guards pick up Grady on an off night, but Grady is a guy we need to get going if we want to see our full potential this season.
And last but not least...
But why would we have a shirtless Sak when we could have 15 seconds of full uniform Sak on SEC Network instead?