Is there anything else to be said? Well quite honestly, yes there is. It was a great game before Mangok Mathiang delivered the dagger to beat Virginia. Read that sentence again. My computer almost wouldn’t allow me to even type it. Terry Rozier gets trapped and delivers the ball to the open man. When you realize who that open man is and that HE IS ACTUALLY RISING UP TO TAKE THE SHOT, it was the classic “NO NO NO NO YESSSSSS” moment. And good for him. This may ignite him to finish the season strong. Or it could be the last positive thing he does. Who knows? Regardless, he had his moment tonight, and it was awesome!
Montrezl wouldn’t be denied
Whether he is technically a captain or not, it is obvious that Montrezl Harrell is the leader of this team. And on this night, he just would not be denied a victory. You could tell that he was having some back pain. It definitely showed on his free throws when he wouldn’t even bend his knees to shoot. He shot it with all arms, and he actually went 5-6 from the line, so maybe he should stick with that form! He finished with 20 points, 12 rebounds, and 3 assists.
He continues to amaze me with the ways that he can get a shot up around the rim. Not the dunks. Just getting the ball in the post and making moves to even give himself the angle to get a shot up. He is definitely more than just a dunker at this point in his career. He also hit a very big 3 pointer in this game.
I do have to point out a big play that I didn’t like to see though. He had a very big block that was called a foul. It was all ball and not really close. But the way he reacted would have gotten a technical from me 10 times out of 10. Guys get techs for far less than the display he put on after the whistle blew. And seeing how this game ended, that could have been the call of the game, and I would have 100% agreed with it. He is emotional, but has to keep that in check. Other than that, it was all positive for me with Montrezl.
Rozier was quiet, but effective
After the Notre Dame game where it seemed like Terry Rozier forced a lot of shots and maybe tried to impress NBA scouts, he took a step back from that kind of game tonight. He played all 40 minutes once again and finished with 11 points on 4-8 shooting. He also had 7 rebounds, 4 assists, and 3 steals. He did hit a big jumper in the last couple minutes of the game, so he was still clutch. He just didn’t force the issue.
I remember one particular play in the first half. Rozier got an offensive rebound and started to go right back to the basket. Seeing that there were Virginia defenders there, he backed it out and set up a play. Against Notre Dame, that is a play where he probably drives in and takes a challenged shot. That play probably went right by most people and was not noticed, but I thought that showed maturity on his part.
Working in the subs
They didn’t play huge minutes, but I was glad to see Jaylen Johnson and Shaqquan Aaron get some time. Of course they were mainly in to give starters a break, but any time that they get is a good thing. It prepares them for the future, whether that be next season or quite possibly in the NCAA Tournament if someone runs into foul trouble. They may only play a couple minutes at a time right now and it doesn’t seem like much, but if we have to rely on them later, then at least when they go into the game, it won’t be too much of a shock to them .
Johnson only played 3 minutes, but I must say that I liked the drive to the basket he made. He missed the layup, but I still liked to see that aggressiveness. That showed that he was out there to play his game, not just be a time filler while Montrezl rested.
I thought Quentin Snider played another good game. He came out aggressive on offense and hit some big shots to get the Cards rolling early. He also made the great pass to Montrezl for the alley-oop and had a good drive through the lane where he hit a runner. I am not sure how he played on defense this time around, but he hit some good shots early.
What a game! The Cards are now 3-1 in their “new season” and head to the ACC Tournament as the 4 seed. Basketball in March. You’ve gotta love it!