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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - Fresh thoughts and observations from the Mocs' 67-52 loss at Alabama-Birmingham.
The Opening Tip
Well, that was different.
The Mocs junked-it up a little bit to keep it close. Coach Will Wade elected to play some of his full-court defensive traps then fall back and guard in the half-court by playing a 2-3 zone.
The Mocs (4-8) have been working on some form of that all season. But they probably hadn't played 40 minutes of zone combined in games this season let alone for 40 minutes in one game on Wednesday.
I think its more likely to be a trend -- playing more zone -- than a one-time thing against a superior opponent.
As expected, the Mocs were whipped inside and on the glass. UAB out-rebounded UTC 46-30 overall. Most of that came in the first half. UAB won that battle 15-13 in the second half and the difference could have been its two offensive rebounds after the break.
From Martynas to Marty
Bareika is listed in most places as Martynas. Except for his profile page in the UTC media guide, and it seems more people are calling him Marty this year over his first two seasons.
He's certainly getting more face-time... and playing time.
Bareika became the first UTC player to play all 40 minutes of a game this season. The previous high was shared by Gee McGhee and Greg Pryor who both played 38 minutes against Morehead State.
Bareika, who scored 11 points on 3-of-14 shooting Wednesday, has played 77 out of a possible 80 minutes in UTC's last two games.
Not having Zaccheus Mason in the post is a major the Bareika boost in minutes.
Here are three things I noticed by sitting on press row.
Wade called a play on almost every offensive possession and had players slow down the pace -- burn a little time off the clock -- when UTC did not have a fast break and UAB sat in it's 2-3 zone. I didn't hear them all, but "Double Away Spread Loop," sounds pretty cool.
The bench seemed into the game. Every player, coach, manager and trainer jumped up when Ronrico White took a charge in the first half with UTC leading by four. They were also in the air anticipating a few 3-pointers that missed the mark. UTC's bench out-scored UAB's 17-5.
There were at least six offensive plays that would have been completed against almost any team in the Southern Conference but not against the bigger Blazers. Greg Pryor surely would have scored on a backdoor layup in the SoCon, but 6-foot-10 center Fahro Alihodzic came from the weakside to block it.