Ever since the Cincinnati loss, we've been waiting for this team to demonstrate some signs that it was jelling.
That wait is over folks.
The Commodores took a punch in the mouth Saturday that put them on the canvas last year when Florida came out shooting over 57% from three in the first half of play. The rather uncharacteristic three point performance was incredulous to say the least. Though they ended the game at 48% from long range, that is still a ridiculous statistic for team shooting from three.
That effort from the Gators was not entirely a result of our defensive play. Boynton was taking some ridiculous shots. And though we had trouble finding little Erving Walker at time, I was plenty impressed by our defensive presence. In truth, Florida gave us what I would consider to be its best performance and we took it completely in stride on our way to an 8 point victory.
That's the sign of a team that's maturing. There were so many indications of our promise on Saturday. We broke the press almost effortlessly, thanks to smart decision making and the incredible value that Andre Walker's ball-handling brings. Though we missed what I thought to be some open looks (such as Jeff Taylor standing wide open on the baseline), we passed the ball effectively and got people in position to score. We absolutely killed Florida in the paint, getting them deep into foul trouble and ending their possessions with good rebounding. We forced them to take shots with minimal time left on the shot clock.
This is what Commodore fans had hoped to see when the season started. A team that had a gameplan that it stuck to, and that clicked on all cylinders. As a result, we got a huge opening SEC win. Make no mistake of its importance, this is a massive confidence booster for our young squad. Seeing the fruits of playing disciplined ball as wins against good teams encourages them to continue to hone that disciplined game.
As a result, this is where the fun begins for us fans. Though we still must prove ourselves on the road, I feel confident that we are going to be a big obstacle in the confines of Memorial, and I believe now, finally, that we are heading in the right direction as a team.