Postgame: vs. Mercer

Kennesaw St. 83 Mercer 75

The Owls pulled off a huge upset of Mercer on Saturday afternoon in the Convocation Center, giving Head Coach Lewis Preston his first conference win. They played with great effort, limited their errors and made their shots. Propelled by the home crowd, Mercer never held a lead as Kennesaw jumped out strong from the opening tip.

We saw the Owls come close the past two games, but falling short in the end. Today was a rewarding win for the players, coaches and everybody involved. This win should give the team loads of confidence, at the right time. As long as they recognize that this is just the first step and keep the same focus and energy that they brought today, good things will come.

Liked

  • The Owls played well for an entire 40 minutes (well 39!). They jumped out early with a barrage of three pointers and never gave up the lead. Previously KSU had given no more than about 35 minutes of solid play.
  • As Coach Preston said in his press conference, there wasn’t that huge lull that seemed to plague the team over the past few weeks.
  • Mercer is no cupcake as they were picked by many to win the Atlantic Sun conference. They have wins over Florida St. and Alabama so far this year.
  • The defense was superb. The team’s game plan took Langston Hall out of the game and threw them out of their rhythm. Delbert Love and Myles Hamilton applied great ball pressure throughout the game. Mercer didn’t score a point in the second half until 5:10 was off the clock and didn’t get a field goal until 5:48 had ticked off. KSU was switching well on defense, and rarely was there an open shooter.
  • KSU went to the line 55 times, which is 24 more than their previous highest total this season. These were the rewards for their efforts of taking the ball to the basket, moving it around and playing as a team.
  • The Owls shot 51.4% overall and 64.3% from three (both season highs).
  • Delbert Love’s 32 points was the most allowed to an opposing player by Mercer. The previous high was 23 by Travis McKie (Wake Forest).
  • Love was on fire by hitting four triples in the first half and played a great game overall.
  • Love went 14-15 at the stripe.
  • Markeith Cummings also came out of the gate on fire and knocked down two threes in the first 2.5 minutes.
  • Mercer only had 11 turnovers but KSU turned them into 20 points.
  • Aaron Anderson hit his third career three. I think everybody was amused by that, including Aaron.
  • Andrew Osemhen came into the game 9 of 17 at the free throw line but went 6 of 6 against Mercer. Shout out to him for the hard work he’s put in over the past year.
  • Osemhen also did a great job of hitting the floor to get an offensive rebound off a free throw miss, keeping it alive allowing the Owls to get to the line again.

Didn’t Like

  • The end of the first half wasn’t great. KSU was up 8 with about a minute left and the ball. They went into the half up 4.
  • Jordan Montgomery picked up some bad fouls. He is a defensive liability right now.
  • Yonel Brown missed 3 of 4 free throws on consecutive possessions.

Random

  • Myles Hamilton and Love are easily the most confident ball handlers on this team right now. Brown is a good ball handler but doesn’t handle pressure well at this point, and sometimes telegraphs passes.
  • I enjoyed seeing Mercer Head Coach Bob Hoffman being ejected.
  • Everybody in the building got a free taco from Del Taco because KSU scored 70. I hope they keep this promotion up! (I didn’t get my coupon though, if you were wondering)
  • The Black and Gold (student fan group) showed up! They sat behind the goal for the first time, which is much better than the side seating that had previously taken place. They (the students) need to keep the energy up ALL GAME, not just at the beginning.
  • Remember, conference wins are the ones that truly count. 8 of the 9 teams (NKU is ineligible) make the conference tournament at the end of the year and as you saw tonight, upsets can happen. Right now the Owls are 1-2, and look to carry the momentum into Jacksonville on Thursday. The game can be seen live on ASUN.TV.

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