I believe in the power of the Yuengling. I think I need to add that to the fire up entry from yesterday. We had a sluggish first half today and things were looking grim when down 3 at the break. I wasn't originally planning to drink, but I busted out one of four Yuenglings that was in my fridge. It immediately sparked the critical 20-3 run where someone lit a fire under Keaton Grant's rear end. It was like asking about being a second half team against Wake Forest.
I know, you can thank me later.
So there are now three Yuenglings left, and as far as I am concerned they are the new Red Buttons for each remaining game until we get to Indianapolis. We have one down, and now we have three to go.
I know we won't be favored in the next round, but I don't care. This team showed exactly how it is going to continue winning basketball games from this point forward. It was all in Chris Kramer's "Step up, bitch" stare at the beginning of the second half when he pulled off a Kramer Moment that didn't even look possible. We manned up, and Siena could not match that.
Positives from the Siena game:
Chris Kramer - Oh my goodness. How many Kramer Moments did we have in the second half? We have to win on Sunday now because we need at least one more week of having Chris in our lives. We won this game by the sheer force of Chris Kramer's will. He was getting owned by Alex Franklin for stretches of the first half. Therefore, at halftime Chris had enough.
This had shades of Michael Jordan on the original Dream Team. There is a story out there that some college kid was scored a bunch on the Dream Team in the lead up to the 1992 Olympics. When they played the next pickup game Jordan decided he was going to guard the kid that was talking the most.
That kid did not score the next game. That was Franklin in the second half. Kramer essentially erased the best player in an entire conference.
Oh, and he managed to score 10 points as well. It's not like that had an effect on the outcome either.
Keaton Grant - We don't win this game if Keaton doesn't step out of the phone booth at the start of the second half. KG scored all 11 points during the 16-3 run, but they may have been the biggest 11 of his career. He was also about an inch short on an alley-oop from Kramer a few minutes later. This is the KG we need the rest of the way.
JaJuan Johnson - The biggest play of the game was his block with 2:28 left. It didn't stop the big run at the end, but it delayed it just long enough to work some more clock and put a little more pressure on the Saints. JJ's 23 points and 15 rebounds might have been a small factor as well. If we're going to go beyond Sunday we have to have efforts like this out of JJ. He played within himself anddidn't step outside too much. I admit, I haven't looked too much at Utah State or Texas A&M, but we need the same from JJ regardless of who we face.
Ryne Smith - Look who hit two absolutely huge 3-pointers! I am even more convinced that the Minnesota game could have been different had Grant not been called for that charge on Smith's made triple. We don't need much from the bench guys, but Smith made Siena worry about the proverbial Something Else.
Lewis Jackson - LewJack can be a great free throw shooter. Personally, I had no doubt his second was going in when the brick he threw up there with just under a minute to go dropped. What was even better was his seven dimes. He could have had 10 too with a few more caught passes. I am excited for next year, but we will stay alive for a long time if LewJack plays like he did today.
Rebounding - It needs to get better, but it was enough today.
Free Throws - See my point on rebounds
Assists - I have said it a lot here, but 17 dimes on 27 baskets is exactly what we want. Bonus points need to be awarded because we made Siena score off the dribble all game long. We took them out of their offense.
Negatives from the Siena game:
E'Twaun Moore's jumper - I think it is time I channel my inner Tommy Lee Jones from The Fugitive: It is time for a hard target search of every doghouse, bathhouse, and outhouse as we look for E'Twaun's Jumper. That jumper is the Red Button that has been missing. It was last seen just before Robbie went down in The Barn. Everyone, please help out in this search. 5 of 15 is not going to get it done.
Al Davis said it best: "Just win, baby!" We're still alive and I will have more on the Texas A&M-Utah State winner tomorrow.