The Blue Coats looked to start off the year by leaving their 4 game losing streak in the past and did just that against the Long Island Nets. They won 111-88 in a game that was never in question after the 1st quarter. Though if you went to shop for shoes in the lobby of the 76ers Fieldhouse you missed out on a few impressive offensive efforts.
The Blue Coasts and Nets had a brief feeling out process in the 1st quarter, but before long it was all Delaware. The Blue Coats put up 38 in the 2nd quarter to just 17 for Nets and had a 66-39 lead at the half. Three starters put up double figures, and saw Christ Koumadje score a triple double with 12 points, 16 rebounds and 10 blocks. Marial Shayok lead all scorers with 22 points. At times he seems too good for the G-League, and while his scoring might not translate the NBA his defensive pressure could become an asset in the future. Julian Washburn rounded out the trio with 11.
Koumadje is an easy player to focus on since he is 7’4″, but he played an impressive 32:35 on the game, and was likely pressed into extra service thanks to Doral Moore fouling out. His length plagued the Nets any time they got into the paint, and the defensive swarming in general from the Blue Coats was impressive.
The clear gap in speed, shoot and finishing ability shows why the Blue Coats are up near amongst the top teams in the Eastern Conference, and why the Nets are bottom dwellers. In addition to being a slump buster for the Blue Coasts, they needed desperately to gain some momentum playing at home. Even with the win their home court has only garnered them a 5-7 mark on the year. Being 6-1 on the road has kept them from falling too far, and finding similar success at home going forward will be key.
In the third after a brief blitz, the Blue Coats got a bit sloppy and took too many fouls and the lead shrunk to 84-68. Business picked back up in the 4th with one last push from the starters and they stretched their lead back out. as they comfortably played out the win One of the key factors in pushing the lead to as high as 28 was the bench contributions. Xavier Munford had 18 points and 8 assists, Jared Brownridge put 13 points on the board and Michael Bryson contributed 14 to the effort. Every Blue Coats player scored, save for Terry Harris.
If Connor Johnson can continue to keep the Blue Coats moving in a positive direction at home then this could be a very interesting team come playoff time. The late March/early April will be when the playoffs start and this team should have the talent to content.