Central Oklahoma is an even (2-2) to start out 2016, also holding onto a 2-game winning streak, which doesn’t sound like much, but considering the season they’ve had so far, that’s a great sign. Maybe the team is finally clicking after a 98-92 OT win over the (9-5) Washburn Ichabods.
Numbers to look at:
Kendahl Amerson and Cornell Neal combined for 44 points off 14-of-29 shooting in this offensively based matchup. Big contributions also came from Jarred Bairstow who scored 19 points, and collected 11 rebounds to complete his double-double. Trai Jordan with 15, and Seth Heckart finished with 13 points. Although Garen Wright only scored 2 points off 1-of-6 shooting he made up for that with 5 assists of his own. Great example of a player having a bad shooting game but helping his team win in whatever way that he can. Great performance.
Jarred Baristow who normally averages 6.4 points per game scored an average of 18 points these past two games. Not sure what’s going on with him offensively but it’s a great sign. In previous years, Baristow’s defense was his golden ticket, but now that he seems to have some sort of an offensive game, this can cause trouble for opposing teams for the remainder of the season and could help his campaign to go professional after this season (his senior season). He’s also a threat because he can go long periods without sitting out. He’s averaging 30-plus minutes per game as well.
Cornell Neal and Kendahl Amerson are new to this squad this year, both from JUCOs, but they are slowly turning this team into “their” team, and it appears like head coach Tom Hankins thinks so too, giving those two more and more time and giving them the green light to put shots up, knowing that they will hit about 50 percent of them. Both of these players average about 27-33 minutes per game.
Defensively there still needs to be improvement although the game against Washburn went into overtime, the Ichabods shouldn’t have scored more than 90 points. UCO allowed far too many points in the paint (34) and also gave up 26 second chance points. That’s not a key to success for this team. College teams aren’t typically scoring more than 70 points per game honestly, and UCO gives up almost 77 points per game and only scores roughly 75 per game. Those aren’t signs of a championship or even a playoff team.
Lets hope the Bronchos continue this offensive showcase, and ramp up the defensive intensity for the remainder of the season so that they can finish strong and above .500 and hopefully play into March.
UCO will hit the road on Thursday Jan. 14 and Saturday Jan. 16 to play the University of Nebraska-Kearny (8-6) and Fort Hays State University (11-4). With these two straight wins UCO now looks at a (7-8) record 15 games into a 30 game regular season.
My prediction for the remainder of the season, based on the games they have left, I think they will finish (17-13) for the regular season. 20 wins would be a miracle, but they’d have to finish (13-2) for that to happen. going (10-5) sounds a lot easier and reasonable.