These exhibition games are not supposed to be stressful.
The Lumberjacks got destroyed last year at Carnesecca, but not this season. They hung with the Johnnies throughout the game.
Here are some take-aways:
The Good: 1.) Chris Obekpa is better. It is difficult to watch him play with his shorts rolled up all game, but Lavin is correct that he is an improved over all player. He had a good number of blocks, but his 20+ points were the "game changer" for him. He was more comfortable under the offensive basket. His defense was at times a little lax, but if he plays this way the majority of the season, he is going to have a spectacular year.
2.) Christian Jones is playing. Recall Jones recently had knee surgery for some unknown problem. Well he is healed just in time to replace Keith Thomas. He gave some nice size to the Johnnies and had a healthy amount of points.
3.) Free throws. Makes no difference if it was Humboldt State or Duke, the opponent never matters when shooting free throws (hence the name "Free"). The Johnnies converted their free throws for the most part which really could mean an extra three or four wins during the season.
1.) The Offense. Remember the Norm Roberts offense? Everyone is around the perimeter passing the ball around and then there is a low percentage jumper when times is winding down. That was today. There seemed to be no offense scheme or plan in place. No rhythm. It then shifted to everyone trying to do their own thing. Lavin and crew have to get some sort of plan in place for the offense.
2.) Rysheed's first half. Jordan was playing alone. Every touch was going to be him trying to get to the basket. He turned over the ball more than he should have attempting to dribble through three guys. He was better scoring wise in the second half but has to remember its a team game.
3.) The bench. It's thin. Very thin. Joey Delarosa was sitting behind the bench rather than with the team. Not sure why. Lavin played nine guys but only eight had real minutes. Now, it could be a positive if everyone stays healthy because it limits Lavin from fooling around with the starting line-up for half the season.
Left the arena with a bit of an empty feeling.
As one of my boys at the game said, "A blow out win would have told me nothing - but the close wins tells me a lot more than I wanted to know."