Throughout the season, coach Quin Snyder harped on the importance of getting production from his bench players.
For much of the season, however, it appeared as if Snyder wasn’t pleased with the play of Glen Dandridge and Kalen Grimes, a pair of sophomores who had played sparingly, if at all, in tune-up games heading into conference play.
Dandridge and Grimes played in the first two conference games against Oklahoma State and Oklahoma, and in the 74-71 loss to Colorado, both played double-digit minutes and made an impact.
Snyder has said all season that Dandridge must be able to play and defend both forward positions in order to get more minutes. Dandridge responded last night by setting career highs with eight points and seven rebounds.
After the game, Snyder said he was pleased with Dandridge, who led the Tigers in rebounding.
“I thought he was the bright spot for us tonight,” Snyder said. “It shows you a lot about the kind of kid he is, when in December there were games when he wasn’t getting in the game. He’s kind of dug in and worked and worked and he’s earned the opportunities he’s getting and he’s making the most of it.”
Dandridge, a 6-foot-6 guard known for his 3-point range in high school, showed improvements in his offensive game near the rim on a couple plays in the first half.
After Jimmy McKinney missed a shot with under six minutes left in the first half, Dandridge came crashing down the lane putting back the miss with a two-handed dunk. With just under two minutes left the half, Dandridge scored his second basket off an up and under move in the paint that drew a Colorado defender in the air, giving him an easy lay-up.
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Aside from showing the versatility Snyder was looking for, Dandridge played with more energy than he’s played with this season, diving for loose balls and following up on Tiger misses securing three offensive rebounds.
“I am just coming along, I am hustling and trying my best doing whatever I can,” Dandridge said. “Whatever positions he (Snyder) wants me to play I’ll play.”
After playing 15 minutes against Oklahoma and Oklahoma State, Grimes played 12 minutes against Colorado. On a couple of occasions, Grimes set picks that left Colorado players on the ground. Despite not having a breakthrough game offensively scoring only two points, he finished with four rebounds and a blocked shot.
Grimes opined on why he and Dandridge have become involved more as the season progresses.
“I think it’s just ... we’re working harder and we’re improving every day in practice and in games,” Grimes said. “Every day is a stepping stone for us, you know we’re getting better and we’re learning the things we got to do to help our team win.”