But when the arena lights hit and the curtain goes up, they are sometimes having trouble remembering the script.
Saturday coach Scott Sanderson is hopeful his players will be ready for their close-ups when they face Jacksonville at 2:15 at Swisher Gym. He doesn’t want a rerun of the Bisons’ performance in a 72-62 loss at North Florida Thursday night.
Sanderson had an intensive film review of the North Florida game prior to practice Friday.
“When we do certain things our chances of winning go up drastically,” Sanderson said. “But when we don’t follow a scouting report, and we can’t make shots on top of that, we dig ourselves a huge hole. In the second half against North Florida we had to do things defensively that we really didn’t want to do.
“Sometimes you show the players what went wrong. Sometimes you don’t show them. We thought before practice they needed to see what happened because North Florida is very similar to Jacksonville. We have trouble keeping players with speed in front of us depending on who we have on the floor.”
The Bisons enter the game with a 14-9 record overall, 9-5 in the A-Sun. They have won four of their last five games. Jacksonville is 14-7, 8-4 in the conference. Jacksonville beat the Bisons 60-56 Jan. 8.
“The first four minutes of the North Florida game they didn’t score a field goal and we didn’t either,” Sanderson said. “When they started scoring, and we still didn’t score, we didn’t react very well.
“We let them do things we shouldn’t have let them do. We let drivers drive and we let shooters shoot.”
The way the Bisons reacted to North Florida is a concern for Sanderson. Extremely athletic teams such as North Florida, Jacksonville and East Tennessee State cause the Bisons problems defensively.
“It’s a team thing,” Sanderson said. “If just one guy is not zoned into what we are doing defensively that causes disruption. Everybody has to be on board every possession more times than not to be a good defensive team.
“We have been spotty at best defensively. We have been better the last month, but we still have spots where we are not very good. We have to learn to be consistent on that end of the floor whether we are scoring or not scoring.”
The Bisons are led in scoring (18.3 points per game) and rebounding (7.8) by center Adnan Hodzic. Guard Josh Slater is fourth in the conference with 16.4 points and guard Jordan Burgason is averaging 10.7 points per game.
Jacksonville’s top scorer is Ayron Hardy with 12.3 points per game. Travis Cohn is averaging 10 points.
Delwan Graham is the top rebounder with 6.2 per game.
The Bisons are second in the conference in scoring with 76.5 points. They are also fourth in defensive rebounds with 25.8. The Bisons will be back in action Feb. 10 at Campbell.
Written by Mark McGee, Senior Publisher/Director of Media Relations.