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Headlines: A Tale of Two Players

Jeff: The men's basketball team beat whomever they played yesterday by 12 yesterday and created two interesting headlines. First, Tyler Roche came off the bench and scored a career high 17 points. Second, Rice failed to score, going 0-4 from the floor in 25 minutes. Should we be more excited about Roche's performance or more disappointed with Rice's?

Brian: By "whomever they played yesterday," Jeff, you of course mean the South Carolina-Upstate Spartans, who fell to 0-7 in their first year playing Division I-A basketball.

Jeff: Exactly, the names of our recent opponents is not too important. However, our UMass victory looks a lot better now that they knocked off Kansas in Kansas City Saturday.

Brian: I think the more interesting story line is Rice not scoring. He's our senior leader on this team, and while he had 7 assists, he also had 6 turnovers. Sounds like he had a forgettable performance, so much so that Skinner benched him for the last 8 minutes of the first half and again for 7 minutes in the second. We are not going to win many - maybe ANY - ACC games this year if Rice doesn't get into the scoring column.

Rice is certainly off his 21.0 points per game average from last season. While his assist-to-turnover ratio is better this year (2.05) than it has been any other year in his career, we need Rice to be this team's go to scorer. It might make sense for Skinner to move Rice back to the 2 guard spot and get Biko Paris running point. I feel like Rice might be a more natural fit as the scorer and the 2 guard rather than leading this team at point.

Jeff: Agreed. The key stat in the game is that Skinner only played Rice 25 minutes in a game where we only had a small lead at the half and was in doubt until late. Last year, Rice almost played every minute of every game.

Brian: Rice was actually taken out of the game in the first half when BC was trailing and the team responded by taking a 5 point lead into the locker room.

Roche isn't going to enter every game and go 5 of 7 from behind the arc. He said his performance Sunday was a statement of frustration for not getting that much PT this year.
"I was upset because I thought I could have contributed a lot to this team," he said. "But I haven't been as productive as I could. I tried to stay ready."
Roche can contribute, but I don't think he can play a starting role for this team. Roche is better equipped to come off the bench and contribute by hitting the occasional 3 point bucket for Skinner and the Eagles. So while I am happy that Roche was able to contribute, I don't see this as a very significant headline as his career-highs have come in time against inferior opponents (17 points against SC-Update '08, 11 points against Mercer '07 and 12 points against Hartford in '07).