Junior point guard Jermaine Beal showcased his outside shooting ability once again in the Commodores 68-49 victory over Furman Monday night at Memorial Gym.
The DeSoto, Texas, native connected on three more treys and finished with 15 points, making it his ninth double-figure performance this year.
"He's obviously improved dramatically as a shooter," Coach Stallings remarked, "and again you look at the stat sheet and he has 15 points on six shots. That's a pretty good return per shot."
In his last three outings, Beal has drained 9-of-14 from long range, and for the first time in his career he's made at least three shots from downtown in three consecutive games.
Beal's also hitting a personal-best 49 percent from behind the arc through 12 games, well above his 30 percent average coming into the season. That's a remarkable improvement considering the line was moved back a foot to 20'9.
"Shooting 3's wasn't really my thing two years ago," said Beal. "I've been working hard in the off-season, and now I just have to get open and I can usually get it in there.
"I'm just trying to get it going so when conference play comes hopefully I can make some plays because it's going to be crunch time with a lot of close games."
Coach Stallings wasn't satisfied with the way his offense handled the Paladins' zone defense. Outside of Beal, the rest of the Commodores had a cold shooting night from 3-point range going 2-for-12. Stallings addressed the issue at halftime and reminded his team to take advantage of their inside presence rather than just throwing up shots.
"We didn't attack their zone very well," Stallings said. "In the second half we did a little better, and we started getting the ball into A.J. and getting to the foul line.
"We just didn't run a good offense. We've been good against zones all but one or two times this year but this was one of them.
"It wasn't the kind of performance we wanted, but we'll take it and move on."
Center Festus Ezeli had five points and one rebound in four minutes of action, but left the game with 11:18 remaining in the first half due to a back injury. The redshirt freshman did not return to the game.
"It's unfortunate that Festus' back has really been bothering him," Stallings told reporters after the game. "He had a very big stretch there in the first half when he went in and then his back just spurred up on him and he couldn't go anymore tonight, so that was the biggest disappointment of the night. He really played well for the time that he was in the game."