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After the Buzzer: USC Upstate

South Carolina Upstate v Louisville Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Quick Hitters

-The biggest news from this game has to be the return of both Malik Williams and David Johnson. Louisville was already good without them, but they go to another level with these guys healthy and in the rotation. It will be interesting to see how that rotation will be, however. I think it’s pretty clear with Malik. He and Steven Enoch will rotate for one another. I wouldn’t mind seeing them both on the court at the same time every now and then. Where will David Johnson fit? Darius Perry has played very well at point guard and Fresh Kimble is a natural point guard. Maybe he plays off of the ball? Or he handles the point and moves Darius off the ball? We’ll see.

-Dwayne Sutton…BEAST! He grabbed a career high 15 rebounds and seven of them were offensive. That’s just ridiculous. Offensive rebounding is all about effort and how bad you want to go get the ball. That’s all you need to know about Sutton. He may get a spot on this post every game, and that’s totally fine with me. This kind of game deserves recognition. Oh, and the nine points and four assists weren’t bad either.

-Ryan McMahon, still on fire. He was 5-8 from three and is now 18-30 on the season from behind the arc. The guy is much more than a shooter as you will see in the film review. His defense and passing can not be ignored. And one more thing he is doing well is setting screens. Why is this a big deal? Guys that defend him this season are likely told to stick to him and not help off at all. So when McMahon sets a screen, his man isn’t helping. Meaning when he is setting screens near the basket, someone is going to be open for an easy bucket. You will see what I am talking about.

-Joran Nwora assist/turnover watch continues. This game he had one assist and one turnover, bringing his season totals to five assists and eight turnovers.

-More on Nwora. I thought he played really well in this one. He was an efficient 11-19 from the field for a season high 28 points and he has been really good in transition. I will point out in the film review some good things he did on defense as well, which is what I was very critical of with him last season. Any small improvements will not go unnoticed from me. He also had nine rebounds.

-It wasn’t the best game for Steven Enoch. I don’t think the guys made a big effort to get him the ball early in the game, and this seemed to be addressed at halftime, as he did get the ball on several consecutive possessions in the second half. He still had a solid six rebounds and one big block that led to a transition three for Ryan McMahon, so it wasn’t all a bad game. He just had a clear size advantage in the post and I think he (as well as most big men) will be more active and engaged in other areas of the game if he is involved early.

-Darius Perry had nine assists and zero turnovers. That has to be recognized here. Add in Fresh Kimble’s five assists and one turnover and you have 14 assists and one turnover from those two. I know who the opponent was, but that’s still encouraging.

-The Cards had 22 assists on 29 made baskets, so they continue to share the ball well.

-Not much to report from the freshmen in this game, other than David Johnson making his debut with two big dunks. Samuell Williamson struggled from the field. Aidan Igiehon saw his minutes dip to just six in this game. The starters played a majority of this one as it was much closer than expected until a big run in the second half put it away.

-I didn’t get to watch the game live, and when I saw the score in the first half, I just assumed the Cards came out flat and not really motivated for the game. After watching it, I don’t think that was the case. It seemed like they settled on offense and that SC Upstate just played really well and hit some tough shots. Could it have been better? Of course. But at least it wasn’t effort. That was my concern just from looking at the score. Shots won’t always fall. It won’t be perfect. But they stayed the course and eventually “boomed” them and it ended up being a convincing win. Sometimes you see highly ranked teams let those smaller schools hang around and they end up losing at home. You hate to see that.

Film Review