Ok, I'm starting to get my positive flow back.
Once again, the majority of the game we played pretty well. We shot pretty well from the floor, we shot exceptionally well from 3, and we won the battle on the glass. We also played pretty great defense throughout the middle of the game. All of those things resulted in a double-digit lead as late as 4:17.
But then it hit us again. Davidson scored 23 points over the last four minutes to make this game a close one late. A couple of turnovers, a couple of key misses, and suddenly the lead was cut to within 4.
Still, the important thing is we won, and we owe a lot of that to Festus Ezeli.
Credit obviously goes to Jeff and John tonight: Jeff was absolutely fantastic. He was prolific on offense and excellent on defense. John was equally fantastic, and perhaps most impressively, he used some great ballhandling to get open looks.
But Festus seemed to really change the game. I don't know what his plus/minus was tonight, but the team simply played better when he was on the floor. He affected the entire course of the game in a positive manner. Davidson had to double team him when he had the ball in the post, which opened up the perimeter and slashing lanes. Davidson couldn't score in the paint when he was in there. Lance had more open putbacks. Fez got offensive rebounds. Even with a massive brace on his left knee and clearly looking like he was still recovering, he still gave us 21 excellent minutes. 15 points, 6 boards, 2 blocks, and 4 offensive rebounds in 21 minutes, just a great performance.
We need more guys outside of those three to contribute consistently. That is really the key.
Vandy gets a badly needed break for exams. Time to get healthy, rested, and work out some kinks in the gym. Hopefully we'll see this team take an upward swing earlier in the second half.