Slow start doesn’t deter Cards
November 23, 2009 —
Usually when a team takes a 10-0 lead to start a game, it’s a sign of bad things to come for the losing team.
Luckily for the Cardinals, that wasn’t the case when they hosted Rochester.
The Cards’ were able to shake off the early rust and defeat Rochester 74- 59.
After Rochester scored the first ten points barely three minutes into the game, SVSU responded by allowing them to score only 14 points the remaining 16 minutes of the first half. It was the kind of effort head coach Frankie Smith was pleased with.
“We definitely got off to a slow start. It was something that we didn’t anticipate happening,” Smith said. “Give credit to our guys though, they hung in there and got us back in the ball game before the first half was even over.”
What Smith was referring to was the fact the Cardinals were able to take the lead, 28-24, heading into the locker room.
“Our defense really stepped it up after we got off to the bad start. I’ve been telling our guys every practice that the better defense we play, the better we’ll fare throughout the season. Defense was what got us back in the game and eventually what won us the game in the end,” Smith said.
Junior transfer forward Keithan Jackson had a huge game for the Cardinals, totaling 17 points and a game-high 18 rebounds. It was the type of performance that Smith was looking for when he recruited Jackson.
“When we were scouting him, we wanted someone that could come in and use their size to their advantage and pull down rebounds,” Smith said. “Even against Cincinnati during the preseason, he had a double-double. We needed someone that could go up and come down with the ball on both ends of the court, and he is that guy for us.”
In the second half, both offenses came to life, scoring at least 11 more points than they did in the first half. The Cardinals outscored Rochester, 46-35, in the second half, although Smith was quick to credit the defense for the offensive outburst in the second half.
“A solid defensive performance will lead to offensive points,” Smith said. “We did a good job of turning their turnovers into points, which helped us secure the win.”
Overall, SVSU turned 15 Rochester turnovers into 22 points.
Another aspect of the game the Cards’ were able to control was rebounding, holding a 41-25 advantage.
“When you out-rebound a team, most times that will also mean you get more opportunities than they do as well, Smith said. “That was the case with us because we were able to get off a lot more shots than they were.”
After finishing last season on a strong note, the Cardinals looked to open the 2009-10 season carrying some of that momentum. According to Smith, the Cardinals have done just that.
“We’ve added a couple new guys in key positions although that doesn’t change what our expectations are,” Smith said. “So far, we have gone out and won our first two games. There are still areas that we can improve on although I’m happy with the way we have started the season.”