Three days and three games later, UCI is still winless, having gone 0-3 in the Great Alaska Shootout and now 0-6 on the season. After a decent showing against Southern Miss, UCI disappointed against lesser foes Central Michigan and Alaska-Anchorage. They were never really in Friday’s game against the Chippewas, falling behind 12-0 from the start. Today, they kept pace with the D-II Seawolves for the first half, even leading for the first time this season at halftime. However, UCI faded badly down the stretch, repeatedly getting called for offensive fouls as Alaska-Anchorage outscored UCI 29-11 to end the game. Thus, UCI leaves the the frigid tundras of Alaska as the only team to not record a win. It’s hard not to be down on UCI after a stretch like that.
New developments over the weekend:
- Daman Starring, no longer playing out of position at point guard, has seemingly taken on the role of go-to scorer, putting up 15, 20, and 21 points during the tournament. Following up a 21 point performance against Weber State, Starring is starting to show the confidence and offensive game needed to lead the team. However, during the post-game interview between Mark Roberts and Coach Turner today, Turner responded to Roberts’ usual effusive praise by mentioning Starring’s high turnover number. Turner even said that he hoped Starring wouldn’t make the all-tournament team, due to the turnover number. Harsh words from Coach Turner, but I think his intention is clear. No one from UCI is in any position to be receiving accolades at this point.
- Many noticed the dreadful tournament Adam Folker had in Alaska, raising concerns of a possible injury flare up. Whatever it is, Folker has reverted back to his freshman ineffectiveness, which does not bode well for the ’Eaters. Hopefully Adam can get his game straightened out in time for next week’s game against San Diego.
- In all three games, the opposing big men torched UCI. Folker is part of the problem on defense, but it may just be an issue of personnel. I don’t see Will Davis II or Mike Best having the physique to really step up and shut down a more mature post player. Against Southern Miss, it was Torye Pelham with 17/8. Against Central Michigan, Olivier Mbaigoto had 23/9. Today, Arizona State transfer Taylor Rohde had 28/12, and went to the line a ridiculous 18 times. He also made 16 of his free throws, which is something UCI big men have not been able to do.
- I’ll try to end on a brighter note. Derick Flowers had a good tournament overall, impressing with a much improved shot. He went 6-10 from the field during the last two games, including 3-5 from 3-point land, which had never been a strength in the past. Flowers can become a solid contributor for the rest of the season, especially if he minimizes the fouls going forward.