It wasn't pretty in the second half except for the free throw shooting and some stellar play on the defensive end at the end of the game. A key three-point play by Eli Millsap got the Blazers ahead after they squandered a 38-22 halftime lead. They won 65-55, but it was a tough game. The Blazers just couldn't get any good shots for most of the second half against the bigger Golden Hurricane. But the key was 19-of-20 free throw shooting in the second half, 95%. That's something else. George Drake was 10-of-10, Eli was seven-of-eight, and Jamarr Sanders was five-of-six.
Mike Davis said in the postgame that his team expended so much energy in the first half that they were spent at the beginning of the second half. You could tell in the first half how much they wanted the game. They were intense. They let up in the second half, or really just got tired and hit a wall, but gutted it out once again before a great crowd of 7,691.
Eli finished with 19 points and 12 boards, his 11th double-double of the season, which leads the conference. Drake played a great game, particularly from the line, scoring 17. Jamarr had 12. Seven-foot center Jerome Jordan had 20 and eight for Tulsa, but I thought Kenneth Cooper did a good job on him defensively for the most part. Blazers were only two-of-14 from trifecta. That needs to improve.
The 25th ranked Blazers (AP,18-2, 6-0) now face UTEP Sat Night at Bartow at 7 p.m. The Miners are 13-5, 4-1 heading into tonight's game against Tulane.
There is no TV, so please come out and support the guys. They're something else. Craft, my cousin, said they are great kids whose only concern is winning basketball games and being good people. That's awesome.