UNCG vs. HPU

I had such high hopes for our game against the High Point University Panthers, but alas they were not realized. In the 73-81 loss I saw some flashes of greatness, but a team that Wes still needs to pull into a cohesive unit.

I have never been to the HPU basketball arena. That campus, in the middle of the working class furniture town of High Point, looks a bit like I imagine a Disney campus to look. Everything is bright, shiny and digital. It all looks new and freshly painted. There are American flags hanging from all the light poles and the walking paths close at sundown. In the arena itself, I was treated to plenty of pre-game commercials on the three digital screens. I know who is sponsoring their post-season tournament, who their preferred graphics company is, and what hotel is the official HPU hotel. The HPU president, Nido Quebin, had a front row seat with plenty of schmoozing and handshaking to do. The whole front row got snacks in the second half. (I had not had supper and was really wishing I was down there, too.)

I was not there to creep on the HPU campus, I was there for basketball. The HP fans were loud and ready, but plenty of blue and gold made the short drive to see the Spartans play. UNCG lost this game to themselves. Not to put down HPU, they were there to play and won the game; however UNCG had plenty of chances to take control and never did. This might be the worse kind of loss. The Spartans came alive in the last 6 minutes of the game not to be able to over come the distraction of the past 34 minutes. They were only down 1 at the half, but let themselves get down by as many as 19. This was a result of sloppy passing and shooting without looking for the shot (or if someone was in position to take a better one). I do not see a strong leader on this team. Is it Simpson as a senior, Parker as the point guard, McNeil with the extra year of experience? I would like Armstrong to step up because I really like him as a player and he puts it all on the floor. Someone needs to step into this role or we are going to spend this season watching UNCG flounder. And they are too good for that! I want focus on fundamentals over fancy passing. Keep your head in the game and your eyes on your teammates. Talk to each other and push each other, but by all means keep the team going in the same direction!

In the second half, the Spartans could not slow the Panther momentum. I did not see many offensive rebounds and there were gaping holes in the defense that allowed the home team to rack up points. The shots were not falling and we were not capitalizing on turnovers. I want to be writing the opposite of this stuff Spartans! Please give me some good material to work with!

The overall stats were not stellar FG% was 43, we were 40% for threes, and 56.5% from the line. That is one BIG reason we lost this game. We were 13-23, yes we missed 10 free throws and lost by 8 points. NOT ACCEPTABLE! That is a skill and teams get better when they practice skills. Armstrong went 6/6 last game, but 3/8 against HPU. Come on #3, get in the gym early in the morning, practice till it hurts and practice some more! I want to see you in the big dance and FT are one way to get there!

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