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Quick Gardner-Webb Recap (95-63 win)

AW was at the Drum and might chime in with something more thorough later, but I'm currently in Texas on vacation and actually got to sit down and watch the game, so I thought I'd offer up some thoughts.

It's hard to take too many lessons from such a mismatched game, but there were a few developments.

First, Jai Lucas can flat-out shoot (5-7 from three), but isn't doing it in the flow of the offense very much.  Maybe it was just the opponent, but he jacked up a bunch of pull-up 3's and was good enough to make them.  That's great, but when he's not hot enough to hit those, will he pull back or will he turn into AJ Abrams?

Second, Mase had a decent game, 8 pts (4-9 shooting), 4 boards (2 offensive), 4 dimes and 2 steals.  He actually made some honest-to-god basketball moves too, which was great to see.  I remember a solid drive to the hoop for a layup, a thundering dunk off of a broken play and a beautiful little hop step into the lane with a mid-range jumper to finish.  It's a broken record to hope for a confidence improvement from Mason, but if he is going to be valuable to this team in any meaningful way, he HAS to provide something on offense.  He's got some moves, but he defers too much to the more talented players around him.  He just has to realize that 4 super-talented players are not better than 4 super-talented players plus a hardworking semi-talented player.  Get involved Mase!

Third, Jordan Hamilton played 11 minutes, took zero shots, and dished out 3 assists.  Against a high school team he could have dominated.  You think Rick maybe had a little talk with him after the last few games?  This is obviously the opposite extreme of what he was doing against UNC and MSU, and extremes are not what we need from Jordan.  We just need him to pick his spots to unleash his playmaking ability.  But this game was certainly a sign that Hamilton understands how he needs to change as a player to be good for this team.  He initially turned the shower faucet on super-hot and then overcompensated to super-cold in this game.  Now it's just a matter of him calibrating his play to that happy spot that gives you the perfect temperature.

And finally, we are indeed capable of hitting free throws.  This was a very lightly officiated game (which benefited Texas greatly as we are the more physical, athletic team), so not many free throws were taken, but DaMo went 8-8 from the line and Gary went 7-8.  The team as a whole shot 16-21, or 76%.  Solid effort.