We are off to a good start in 2015
- 07 Jan, 2015
We are off to a good start in 2015, as we head into the weekend with a 3-0 record in the Sun Belt. It’s nice to get off to a good start in conference, but we have a lot of work left to do. And that begins on Thursday evening against Georgia State at the Cajundome.
We learned a lot about our team through November and December. Despite some familiar faces, this team is much different from last season’s NCAA Tournament team. We opened the season with seven new players and three new starters so growing pains were inevitable.
In late November we had handed out rings to the players at the “Rebounders Club” dinner meeting. A lot of blood, sweat, and tears goes into winning a championship so it’s always great seeing guys pick up jewelry. That’s a great memory for everyone involved with the program. It was a tremendous evening.
We finished the month of November with a 2-3 record. Breakdowns on both ends of the floor led to three straight losses to Tulsa, Auburn and Milwaukee, but we closed out the month with a great defensive effort against Oral Roberts. We held ORU to 29 percent shooting from the field. That certainly made for a happy flight home and we gave the players three days off for Thanksgiving to spend time with their families.
After splitting the first two games of December we played host to Louisiana Tech. It’s oldest rivalry in our program’s history. Last season we led wire to wire in an 89-80 win. It was their first home loss in almost three years so we knew they would be coming into our place looking for payback.
We shot well from three-point range to overcome some early foul trouble and Shawn Long had a nice game with 24 points and 15 rebounds. He was among those who picked up some early fouls so he played only 24 minutes in the 94-86 win.
As most of you probably already know, Shawn was recognized in November being named to the Lou Henson award Preseason Watch List. That’s a great honor him. Last season Elfrid Payton was a Lou Henson All-American and he picked up the Lefty Driesell award, which is given to the nation’s top defensive player. Great recognition for our players.
After beat Louisiana Tech we posted two more wins before we stumbled at Northwestern State just before Christmas. Shawn played only 17 minutes due to foul trouble. He had only five points, but still managed to pull down 13 rebounds in limited minutes.
We closed out 2014 with a win over UALR in the Sun Belt Conference opener. We opened 2015 with a win in our conference home-opener against Troy and followed that up with a win on Monday at Appalachian State.
Four of our next five games are at home so we hope to see everyone come out to the Cajundome. I hope you all had a great Holiday and very Happy New Year.