1.) Despite the eight-point lead, I’m going to guess Mo Cassara is not a happy camper at halftime. The Dutchmen looked ready to bury UNC Wilmington with a 24-10 run that turned a 7-3 deficit into a 27-14 lead, but the Seahawks began having their way inside—particularly with Keith Rendleman—and ended the half on a 13-8 run. If not for a couple bandage 3-pointers by Mike Moore and Brad Kelleher—the latter of which came just before the buzzer—this could be a lot more nerve-wracking for the Dutchmen. The return of Greg Washington, who picked up two fouls early, should be a huge help. Pun intended.
2.) The Dutchmen have done a nice job of maximizing the little depth they have, especially with Stephen Nwaukoni in uniform but remaining on the bench in the first half. Here were two unlikely lineups Mo Cassara sent out there: Charles Jenkins-David Imes-Shemiye McLendon-Yves Jules-Roland Brown and Jules-McLendon-Kelleher-Moore-Paul Bilbo. For Brown, it was his first appearance since Dec. 4. Not a misprint.
3.) Thanks to Kelleher for making me look smart for once! He drained three 3-pointers, just as I said he needed to during the pre-game thoughts. Those baskets were big with McLendon not hitting a basket but once again contributing on the boards (three rebounds).
4.) Mike Moore had a rough start, drawing a charge on the first possession of the game and then badly missing a putback, but he has been on fire since with 10 points (including two 3-pointers), five rebounds, three assists and even one block. They’ll need him in a game that will still likely be determined by outside shooting.
5.) Charles Jenkins, who is sporting a bandage over one eye, had an effective first half (10 points, five assists) but seems primed for a big second half. Look too for David Imes, who had six points (all on dunks) and five rebounds but was beaten badly a couple times by Rendleman to have a big second half as well.
Email Jerry at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow Defiantly Dutch at http://twitter.com/defiantlydutch.