How can a man this big disappear?
With a trip to the Great Wall of China and Joshua Smith trying his hand at being human transportation behind them, it was time for the Bruins to get down to business in their first exhibition game against Tsinghua University in Beijing. Of course, it wouldn't be a Chianti Dan event if it wasn't underpublicized and difficult to watch, and true to form, we are left to rely on first hand accounts and reporters for actual news on the game.
David Wear led the Bruins with 22 points and 15 rebounds. Travis Wear and Norman Powell had 19 each. Freshman Kyle Anderson, starting in his first game as a Bruin, had 11 points, 13 rebounds and six assists.
So far this is the closest thing we'll get to a box score. It's extremely encouraging to see Kyle Anderson's instant impact in categories that are more difficult to attribute to the substandard competition. It's also notable that certain players were not mentioned, especially Smith, who one would assume would have an even bigger physical advantage in China compared to what he enjoys stateside. Whether this was merely a casualty of a commitment to increasing the pace and pushing the ball is yet to be seen. Also missing: Shabazz Muhammad, and we all knew that, but since this trip was one of the stars aligning for Howland, giving him extra practices and games that our competition will not, his absence reminds us of an opportunity lost.
The Bruins also went to zone at some point according to the article above in order to protect players in foul trouble - A tentatively encouraging sign given Howland's track record on defensive flexibility.
Howland and the team aren't reading too much into the final score, and neither should we. This is a team that is expected to be one of the best in our country, and they should be dominating college teams from a lesser basketball country.
Next exhibition game will be against Shanghai Jiaoting University on Monday at 7:30 pm China time. I'll be hoping and looking for Smith to make his way into the game notes.