Just when Western’s rotation reached an all-season low against Troy on Thursday night, minute distribution returned to mid-November form against Arkansas-Little Rock.
Head Coach Ken McDonald played only seven players against Troy, but 11 Toppers saw action against UALR.
“We were able to play a lot of guys tonight, and some of these guys that hadn’t been playing, I was happy that they came in and did some good stuff,” McDonald told Western’s Big Red Radio.
Senior guard Anthony Sally returned to the court after spending two games out with an injured left ankle, and freshmen Jameson Tipping and Jordan Swing, along with senior Nemanja Milosevic, all played at least 10 minutes.
McDonald said much of the payoff from resting the starters came with giving senior guard A.J. Slaughter a break.
“A lot has been on his shoulders, because he’s the one sometimes, he’s the two,” McDonald said. “He has to score. He has to defend. A lot has been on him, but I’m proud of him for continuing to improve his game.”
The improvement McDonald was speaking of comes with how Slaughter has changed his game from purely perimiter to favor the driblle drive — also how the senior capitalizes on that strategy.
Slaughter has made 75 of his last 81 free throw attempts.
“When you’re willing to just not settle for jump shots and put the ball on the deck and get back into the lane and do some things, he throws his body around now,” McDonald said. “It does take its toll, but he’s willing to do that, which is great.”