Sunday’s men’s basketball matchup against West Georgia did not disappoint, with posterizing dunks from Jordan Jones and Bryson Lockley in the 96-76 blowout victory.
Lockley had full control of the court, and the sophomore was 7-8 shooting and stuffed the stat sheet with 15 points, 14 rebounds, five assists and four blocks.
Another offensive asset was senior Jordan Jones. Jones put up 18 points on 8-13 shooting, pulled in five rebounds and had three assists.
KSU was showcased its versatility and depth on offense in this exhibition match, with seven players scoring in the double digits.
“The most important thing we were trying to demonstrate today is that if we execute ourselves on offense and show a little patience, we can score the ball pretty well,” said head coach Al Skinner.
Nearly every player that stepped on the court was able to distribute the ball and come up with assists. Skinner had high praise for their selflessness but saw room for improvement.
“Even though I thought we had a pretty good number of assists, I still thought we could have moved the ball a little better than what we did,” Skinner said.
KSU finished with 29 assists as a team, while UWG finished with just 16 assists. Moving the ball spreads the offense and creates better shot opportunities, as opposed to an isolation style of play.
Furthermore, KSU overpowered UWG with its defense. The Owls held the Wolves to 35.6 percent in FG shooting and were able to force 16 turnovers.
Skinner, although happy with his team’s overall defensive effort, wants to see more of a leadership role from his seniors on that side of the ball.
“At times, we got ourselves out of position, and as seniors that should not happen,” Skinner said. “They should fully understand where they should be and be able to execute defensively to the point where they can give directions to the other guys.”
The Owls will travel to Indianapolis to face off against the Butler Bulldogs on Friday, Nov. 10. This will mark the first game of the regular season, and the Owls will need to be well prepared for the tough matchup.
Last season, Butler finished the year with a 25-9 record. They finished second in the Big East Conference — one of the strongest college basketball conferences — and 12-6 in conference play.
Butler’s outstanding play gave them the No. 4 seed in the NCAA Tournament, and the Bulldogs advanced to the Sweet Sixteen for the first time since their championship run in 2011.
Friday’s matchup will come down to how well KSU’s guards play. Junior Kyle Clarke, sophomore James Scott and freshman Tristan Jarrett will have their hands full with Butlers’ Kamar Baldwin and Kelan Martin.
Baldwin scored 17 points on 54 percent shooting in a Saturday matchup against Lincoln Memorial, and Martin put up 19 points and pulled in seven rebounds.
ESPN’s basketball power index currently gives the Owls a 6.1 percent chance to beat Butler, and if the Owls can force 16 turnovers like they did against UWG, they have a good chance of pulling off the upset.