Pleased, but…

When are we going to put it all together?  This basketball team has all the talent in the world.  Tone Boyle proved today that you’re not a chucker if you make your shots.  Kaylon Williams played poorly in the first half and out of his mind in the second.  Tony Meier has been great all season and continued that on Saturday.

Vaughn Duggins lays it in against Milwaukee. Jim Noelker/Dayton Daily News

But despite the great victory at Calihan Hall, it followed yet another drubbing from a conference member.  Instead of being at the hands of a front runner, it came from Wright State, a team with no strong size and only a slightly better record, padded by non-D-I victories.  When are we going to take a loss by a close margin?  You don’t lose conference games by more than 20 EVER, and to do it twice in the first four games is as disconcerting as double-digit losses against Western Michigan and DePaul – even more so that they weren’t non-conference.

It’s all about motivation.  We had the opportunity to start the new year fresh, against a tough opponent on the road, and we rose to the challenge.  The Nutter Center, on the other hand, we came out flat, dropped a big number, and gave up.  So Cooper Land scored 21?  On his best day he can’t hold a candle to Anthony Hill, yet the latter took seven shots and didn’t get to line once.  So they shot 11 of 18 from the arc?  Then our perimeter defense isn’t doing what it needs to.

Nick Minnerath had his way with the Panthers.

Between the two games, we turned over the ball 34 times.  That’s just not good enough.  If we take care of the ball better, maybe we don’t get blown out at the Nutter Center.  Maybe we don’t give up 18 fast break points to the Titans.

I will say this.  Coach Jeter is damn right we showed a lot of resiliency today.  We had several turnovers, the Titans made several mini-runs that could have turned into major runs had we not gotten back on our horse and cut them off at the pass.

But we’ll never get over the hump and contend for a Horizon League title – which, believe it or not, we still can do, regular season or tournament – unless we can string together some victories.  And the way we do that is solid, consistently good play over 40 minutes every game.  We can’t lay an egg even five minutes at a time.  This team, f0r years, has been prone to go on five minute-or-longer scoring droughts.  It’s a different reason every time, but the best way to get blown out is to not score while your opponent does.

Matt Howard is back to form this season, vying for Horizon League POTY.

We’re by no means a finished product on the floor in any area.  This is a bad thing, because we’re not there, and a good thing, because we have a lot of room for improvement and as a fan base, we should expect that – Jeter’s teams almost always end better than they start.

It doesn’t get any easier – big bad Butler comes to town soon, and the Bulldogs are riding high after winning the Diamond Head Classic and dispatching Valparaiso to move to 2-0 in the early conference season.

The Panthers always play them tough in Milwaukee – whether it’s the 9-22 team losing by five or the 14-16 team losing in overtime – but we can’t go on any extended scoring droughts if we’re going to be in this game.

Butler is beatable – Evansville proved that earlier this year – but Milwaukee is going to need to play even better than they did on Saturday if the Black and Gold Wrecking Crew is going to pull the upset.

Now, let’s get out there and beat Butler, Dawgy style – using intelligence, good shooting, relentless defense and unwavering consistency.

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  1. Colin

    January 2, 2011 at 5:30 am

    Love the new PantherU logo Jimmy!

  2. Colin

    January 2, 2011 at 5:30 am

    oh and OBV- beat Butler! That would shut a lot of people up.

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