Friday, November 16, 2007

Plenty of Fights Ahead

When Jon Han got up from the floor on Tuesday night against Holy Cross, he lost control. There was certainly a lot of frustration in his actions - as he charged after Holy Cross guard Kyle Cruze. After all, the Stags were handled by Wake Forest last Saturday and were being tossed around by Holy Cross the entire night.

Said Cooley, "I was very disappointed with the way our team responded to (Holy Cross') physicality."

Lesson learned. A few days later, the Stags were able to get a win over American University in D.C. - the first of hopefully many in the win column. The team stormed out of the gate with a 14-0 second half run - and, from what I've heard, it looks as if Cooley may have found some rhythm with his personnel after last night's halftime.

Which brings me back to my original point: patience. The reasoning behind Fairfield's brutal out-of-conference schedule is to prepare them for the MAAC. As Cooley said after the Wake game, "We're not trying to compete with Wake Forest. We're trying to compete with Loyola and Siena".

If the Stags can pull some positives out of the sketchy start to the season, it's that they have played against some of the best and come out better for it.

Whether or not they turns those lessons into victories remains to be seen.

  • Holy Cross did a great job getting to the line and converting; whether or not it was a merited opportunity remains to be seen. It doesn't take a genius to figure out that Cooley was not pleased with the officiating. The Crusaders' breathed a sigh of relief that the got a W on the road without big man Tim Clifford for most of the game.
  • Jon Han vowed that the team would pick itself up and learn after the Holy Cross loss.
  • Jimmy Patsos got some pub in the recent edition of Sports Illustrated, which is the 2007-08 college basketball preview. The Greyhounds took down American a few days before the Stags came to town.
  • Team source told me that the best story of the D.C. trip to American was the bus driver not showing up to drive the team to the pre-game shoot around. Luckily for them, Cooley called in a favor with John Thomson III and got the Stags into Georgetown's practice facility just in time.
  • Assistant coach and coordinator of scouting Tim Fuller has resigned. Coach Cooley confirmed the news yesterday in an interview - but it's something that we've been hearing about for a few weeks now.
  • Without Fuller in the equation, one can only speculate whether or not it had an impact on former signee Jamal Turner. It's hard to say that the two aren't connected.
  • Head Coach Ed Cooley is not unfamiliar with Sacred Heart, as Mike Puma writes here. It's been a while.
  • Sacred Heart just won't stop talking. They'll be up for this one. The Pioneers are off to a rough 1-3 start. They recently dropped a game to lowly Hartford. But it's a hyped game and they'll be up for it - as will SHU's "Big Red" faithful.
  • Regardless of how you feel on the Sacred Heart game, it is no more a rivalry than Holy Cross - which was as intense a game as you can find.
  • Early scouting report on SHU: a lot of athletes, not as many basketball "team" players. FU is looking to go in often to Greg Nero (who exploded with 13 second-half points vs. American) and Anthony Johnson to counter the Pioneers' small team. Execution will be key for the Stags, but it is a very winnable game.
- Keith Connors

[Photo Credit: Connecticut Post]

No comments: