Tritons go 2-2 leading to All-Star Break
- By Reggie Cross, Day 120, 2023
Tritons at Scorpions (LOSS 103-109)
Playing at the Sand Palace, it was a familiar loss to that of the 2022 playoffs. Lamar Francis and Omar Grant contributed 29 and 31 points as the Tritons played horribly in the first quarter giving the Scorpions a 41-22 lead. The Tritons fought back in the second quarter going on a 19 to 2 run to run at the beginning of the second quarter to bring them within 2 at 43-41. Tritons could not regain the lead, however and lost by 6 in the end.
Tritons bench played well Traylor, Jankovic, Williams, and Borezcky showing positive plus/minus. Marcus Ivory and Demetric Vaughn contributed 21 points each with Kai Navigato contributing a double double of 12 points and 10 rebounds.
Takeaway: Tritons defense is playing better, but unable to stop stars like Francis and Grant. New players, Vaughn is still playing at a good level while Reggie Burke off the bench is still trying to learn the offense.
Tritons vs Cyclones (WIN 117-113)
Tritons come out slow again vs the Cyclones with a 18-34 first quarter and go down as much as 25 points in the 2nd quarter. Marcus Ivory again puts the team on his back in front of the home crowd as Oakland chips away in the third quarter and then goes on a massive surge with a 40-25 fourth quarter. Ivory ends up with 39 points taking advantage of young Deshawn Hawkins to lead the Tritons to a victory against a respectable Cyclones team.
Jack Donlon was a vital playmaker with 18 assists while Shaun Williams comes of the bench with 16 points. Vaughn, Dembele, and Navigato were in double digits to support the Ivory thrust. For the Cyclones, Reggie Fortier could not be stopped with 29 points and Kelvin Black gave them a double double with 21 points and 12 rebounds.
Takeaways: Tritons starting lineup is still adapting with Vaughn in Peeler's place. Shaun Williams is again playing well off the bench with a +18 off the bench. 17 turnovers were costly in the game giving the Cyclones a 13-6 edge on points off of turnovers. Ivory must pick up the slack as chemistry/cohesion is built
Tritons vs Vultures (LOSS 112-126 )
The Tritons looked to upset the conference leading Vultures. The end game score may have looked like domination, however, the game was close throughout. Tritons kept it in shooting distance in the first quarter at 26-32 and ended the half within 1 at 59-60. The third quarter, the two teams would trade lead changes with the Tritons going up by as much as 6 in the 3rd quarter at 84-78. The 4th quarter was also a dogfight with 5 lead changes, but in the end, the Tritons ran out of gas in the last 5 minutes to lose by 14.
Marcus Ivory again tried to shoulder the load contributing 39 points and 8 rebounds and Demetric Vaughn having a good game with 24 points, 8 rebounds, and 6 assists. Jack Donlon and Kai Navigato had a difficult time against the Vulture defense with only 5 points each. On the flip side, all fives starters and Nash scored in double figures led by "Smells Like Tuna" Fisher with 30 points, Swayda and Banks with 23 points each.
Takeaways: Tritons were disappointed with the loss, but encouraged by the competitiveness with the conference leader. Tritons played fairly good defense until the final five minutes of the 4th quarter, but needed a little more stamina to end the game in the clutch. Too many weapons by the Vultures and Fisher couldn't be stopped. Ivory scored well as an undersized center for the first time since 2022 when he slid frequently. Vaughn is starting to adapt while Burke is still not there scoring 2 points in 16 minutes. Burke is not an active scorer, but must contribute something in the SF position to keep pace while in the game. Navigato went up against a great defender in Swayda so it's difficult to tell if it's inconsistency or strong D by Orpheus.
Tritons at Predators ( WIN 123-113)
On a back to back following a game at home, the Tritons decided to bring Demetric Vaughn off the bench while starting Reggie Burke and moving Kai to shooting guard. The Tritons opened up a big lead at 24-10, but let the Predators come back on a 23-9 run to tie the game at 33-33 with 8 minutes to go in the second. Tritons would end up pulling away in the third quarter to beat the Predators by 10 points 123-113
The staring lineup was fairly successful with Navigato putting up a triple double of 28 points, 11 rebounds, and 10 assists and Reggie Burke finally scoring in double figures with 10 points and 10 rebounds. Marcus Ivory still put in 21 points allowing his teammates to contribute. Demtric Vaughn went 3 for 14 off the bench with 8 points on 12 minutes.
The Predator were led by Chambers and Barber with 19 each but could not keep pace with the Tritons starters.
Takeaways: Against the struggling Predator team, the starters without Vaughn did well. Tritons as a whole gave up too many points (113). Vaughn, while passable on defense, may have also hurt the second team with his offensive struggles off the bench. May just be a bad game. Shaun Williams, despite a -9, is playing well offensively scoring 16 points off the bench while having an off night defensively.
The Tritons still remain very competitive. Winning against elite teams is still difficult, but at least there are strong moments post-Peeler. Demetric Vaughn is outperforming Peeler per 36 minutes at 23.8 ppg, but just can't give a real 36 minutes like Peeler can. Against top tier teams, Marcus Ivory is the man, but will need the others to step up. Navigato must help shoulder the scoring load while Vaughn is out. 28 points from Navigato in the last game is nice, but he'll need to do it more consistently. First four games post-Peeler, Tritons gave up less than 110 points. Last three, over 110. Defense must be improved if Peeler output cannot be sufficiently replaced. Jack Donlon and Jankovic are doing well as playmakers without Evan Coleman's frustrations while minutes don't need to be spread out to appease anyone anymore.
Basically, Oakland didn't blow up anything and remain a similar team to it was pre-trade while having options in the future with Burke and picks to be used for youth or as assets.