Our best game of the year thus far.

It didn’t come against the best team we’ve played, but it was the game that saw our best offensive execution, best decision-making, best fundamentals, etc.

The dramatic decrease in turnovers is the most conspicuous improvement. Four turnovers at halftime, and whatever small number we ended up with, is precisely what we need.

This is a good step. Now can we take care of the ball consistently…and in hostile environments, in which we are yet to play this season?

Henderson’s explosive, one-handed dunk was a thing of beauty in the second half. That is the kind of offense we all hope Henderson can bring to the fray. Now how did that come about?

Execution.

We’re starting to move the ball around, and we’re starting to move without the ball. That coincides, of course, with our players feeling more comfortable in the offense and being able to improvise. The second half of the Georgetown game may prove to have been the tipping point.

Still too many hurried shots, but there was much more good than bad in this one. And I’ve been Mr. Negativity in past games, so I’ll stick to the good.

Paulus showed a lot of maturation today on certain plays, things that won’t stick out statistically…but he remedied mistakes he’d been making previously.

Consider, when Paulus was bringing the ball up the floor on the right side, two Patriot defenders were lurking toward him, clearly about to trap him in the corner, just as soon as he crossed midcourt.

Instead of trying to break it, or pass over top of the taller defenders, he stopped, took a dribble to the left, and waited for the second defender to retreat. That allowed him to cross mid-court unencumbered.

Certainly, one could say that Paulus should have been making such decisions all along. But he hadn’t. So to see it happen today was encouraging.

McRoberts’ role is very interesting to me. I can’t decide if he’s playing so much on the perimeter because he’s effective out there, or because he’s hesitant to play down low.

Whatever the case–as Majerus highlighted today–even when McRoberts can rack up assists with the best of’em, he absolutely must fortify himself around the basket. He’s got to explode a bit more and be able to dunk the ball on occasion rather than contorting his body in order to avoid getting blocked. Or rather, I think he needs to be a little more fearless around the basket.

That isn’t to say I want him to force bad shots…but he’s agile enough to make things happen in the paint. When we need a go-to basket, McRoberts is the guy. Right now, he’s a little too inconsistent. But he’s making strides, and there’s no reason to think he won’t get there.

Scheyer was trigger happy today, and I loved it. You think one of the coaches told him to start heavin’ it up there? (Ahem, Coach Collins…). And it paid off. Having Scheyer–and Paulus, who nailed a few from downtown as well–as deep threats will pay off considerably in the short and long-run.

Nelson’s three-point shooting has improved dramatically, too.

If Marty and Henderson can become 35% shooters from behind the arc, too, then we’ll be that much more difficult to defend.

I think we can penetrate more on teams. And when we are penetrating, I think we’re doing it without enough control. Marty’s drive is an example (though he’s got a predilection for such drives, I suppose). The aggressiveness is encouraging, but as Marquette demonstrated when we play them, a penetrating trio of guards can be deadly no matter the superior overall talent of the opponent.

Paulus and Scheyer certainly aren’t penetrating-type guards, but Nelson and Henderson can fill that role, me thinks.

But I digress…

Defense is still stalwart. Keep it up.

Other ramblings:

> Zoubek had a great post move early in the first half when we were starving for a bucket

> When we push the ball, we’re hard to stop. Look for that transition offense to increase noticeably from here on out.

> Our transition defense, surprisingly, was not up to par today. Don’t know why.

> Nelson’s turning into a helluva player. Another 20-point performance. He’ll be an All-American before he graduates.

 More links:

 > DBR

> N&O

> Richmond Times-Dispatch

> Washington Post

> Associated Press (via GoDuke)

> Herald Sun

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