Matt Fisher Davis called last night's 72-67 VU victory over Texas A&M a "resilient" victory for the basketball team. It was and it was also a tremendous effort.
Matt finished with a team leading 14 points off the bench, sinking 4-of-8 trifectas, as the Dores moved to 6-7 in the SEC and 13-13 overall before 8,976 partisans at Memorial.
A&M dropped to 5-8 and 13-12 overall.
Next up is South Carolina @ home on Saturday, 7:30 PM CT/8:30 PM ET on the SEC Network.
Joe Toye played a super game finishing with 13, with many drives and scores at the basket along with his 6-for-7 free throw shooting performance. Luke added a double-double with 12 points and 11 boards. Riley also chipped in 12 and hit a pair of triples. Jeff Roberson had 7 points and 6 boards. Nacflow had 5 points and 4 boards. Clevon Brown chipped in 4 points and 2 boards, and Djery Baptiste continues his improving play with a basket and 2 boards. We've got some really good young players to go along with our vets.
Now at 6-7 in conference, we are only 2 games back of 4th place as we sit in a tie for 7th with Tennessee and Georgia. Alabama and Arkansas are at 8-5, so we have some work to do to get to the 4th spot and earn a double bye in the SEC tournament, which will be held at Bridgestone Arena, March 8th-12th, but even earning a first round bye would be good. We have 5 games left, South Carolina, Saturday, @UT, next Wed., 2-22, @5:30 PM CT on the SEC Network, Miss State next Saturday, 2-25, @ home, 3 PM CT on ESPNU, @ KY, Tuesday, Feb. 28, @8 PM CT on ESPN, and we finish it off @ home vs Florida @ 1 PM CT on ESPN or ESPN2; will know closer to time what network the UF game will be on. So a lot of work left, but the victory last night looked like a big momentum builder for us. We've had some bumps in the road this season, but ever since our upset victory over Florida on the road on Jan.21st, we've been playing much better and it looks like we're peaking now.
I talked to Bryce, Luke and Riley last week after practice and liked what they had to say. The team really works hard in practice, they're positive, enthusiastic and feel like they can win every time out. I really like this team. They have a great spirit about them. Very good group of players, and Bryce's positive approach is contagious amongst the team.
We were down by 11 in the first half, but our 3 point shooting led by Matt's couple along with one from Nolan, Jeff and Riley, got us back in it and we led by 1 at half. We outscored them 37-33 in the second half. We got out-rebounded 41-36, but had a plus 5 margin on the boards in the second half. They have three really big guys and they're good players, but we battled on the boards in the second half and that was huge. We kept them from shooting the 3, they rely on their inside game, and we really shot our free throws well, going 18-of-22, 82%, which was also big. We were 10-of-26 from three, 39%, which was good, but we also started taking it to the glass when they extended their defense on us in the second half. Like the way we've become pretty proficient going to the basket as well as shooting the 3.
I like where our team is at. It's an every day thing now; keep improving every day. We learned a lot from last night's victory; how to fight through adversity, how to close a game, how to battle on the defensive end and the glass. We've got a tough road ahead, but if we just approach it one practice, one game at a time, we can end up with a strong finish to the season heading into the postseason.
Will have South Carolina write up most likely Sunday. Will be working on some other stuff next week, but back with a lot more on Wednesday, March 1, with a lot of material, including plenty of basketball, baseball, some football stuff, along men's golf and women's tennis previews. Those two teams look exciting as well. The women's tennis team won the national title in 2014 and went to the Final Four last year, and Geoff McDonald, who does a super job with the program and has for a long time, has another talented group this season. Scott Limbaugh has done a superb job with the men's golf team. We've gone to the Elite Eight in the NCAA's the last two seasons and we've got a really talented team this season that finished the fall No.1 in the Golfstat. com and the Golfweek rankings. Scott wants to win national championships. So does Jeff. We've got shots in both sports. Will have interviews with both Geoff and Scott March 1st and 2nd respectively. Also, will have a piece on football I think you'll like when I get back.
Lost a tough one to San Diego last night on the road, 3-2. Jeren Kendall opened the game with a triple and scored on a sac fly by Will Toffey. Jeren was 2-for-4 on the night and first baseman Julian Infante was 2-for-4. We struck out 13 times, so we HAVE to get better with that. All American Kyle Wright pitched pretty well, going 5, giving up 3 earned, with 3 walks and 2 K's. Will had both RBIs, to go along with his Sac fly, Will also had a single for a Ribeye. We looked a little rusty, which is typical for the opener, but I like our personnel. Maddux Conger pitched the last 3 innings for us and was super. Maddux gave up no runs with 0 walks and 5 K's. There were positives to the night.
We play San Diego again today at 4 PM CT. No TV. We finish up the 3 game set tomorrow at 4 PM CT. No TV tomorrow either, but gametracker will have both games covered on vucommodores.com
I do feel good about this team. We played fine last night. We're trying to integrate some new players into starting positions and just had some first game slip-ups. But we'll be fine. Would like to take today's game and get some momentum back on our side. Corbs was worried about San Diego. He knew they had a good team when I talked to him 2 weeks ago. They have everybody back and look like an NCAA tournament team. We'll get it going, hopefully today.