Bisons outshoot Miners to win after long layoff

Hardingsports.com: Bisons Sweep Missouri-Rolla, 72-63

The Bisons had not played since a December 10 loss at D-I Northwestern State, but the rust didn’t show tonight in a 72-63 win at UMR. The Bisons (8-2) handed Missouri-Rolla (2-9) its sixth consecutive loss in a decidedly ugly fashion. The game was marred by 53 fouls, although they were spread fairly evenly between the two teams, which attempted a combined 69 free throws.

Harding’s free throw shooting decided the game, with the team making 28 of 36 attempts, while UMR made only 17 of its 33 tries at the line. Take a look at the key stats:

The Keys
HU Opp +/-
TS% 59.2 47.4 0.118
OR% 37.0% 39.0% (0.020)
TR 17.5 18.9 0.014
18.9 Predicted net efficiency
18.7 Actual net efficiency

The Bisons enjoyed a marginal edge in the turnover battle, while the Miners had an equally marginal edge on the boards, so shooting decided the game. A quick look at the box score shows that the teams fared about equally well shooting both inside and outside, so free throw shooting was actually the sole deciding factor for the game.

Here are some key player stats:

MIN GS GS/M TS% PPR AR TR RR
Sims, Brandon……. 15 3.9 0.260 51.5 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0%
Andrepont, Patrick.. 25 5.8 0.232 46.8 -8.0 0.0 14.5 14.1%
Savadogo, Alassane.. 9 -2.2 -0.244 0.0 -11.1 0.0 33.3 13.1%
Bibb, Reggie…….. 30 14.9 0.497 70.9 3.3 19.6 6.5 3.9%
Smith, Lonnie……. 32 11.9 0.372 65.8 -2.1 13.7 13.7 5.5%
Kee, Cole……….. 16 1.3 0.081 51.8 -18.8 0.0 30.7 14.7%
Sprewell, Ceso…… 18 8.7 0.483 83.8 -16.7 0.0 27.9 22.9%
Barnett, Steven….. 13 -0.8 -0.062 0.0 -5.1 50.0 50.0 9.0%
Bynum, Jesse…….. 25 3.0 0.120 34.7 5.3 41.0 0.0 9.4%
Thies, Jacob…….. 17 2.3 0.135 64.4 -2.0 17.0 17.0 3.5%

Reggie Bibb scored a career-high 16 points to lead the team, with 10 of those points coming at the free throw line. Ceso Sprewell had a solid season debut, scoring 13 points and pulling down 7 rebounds. The troubling part for me, since I didn’t hear or watch the game, is Alassane Savadogo’s poor performance over 9 minutes, while not fouling out. I’m guessing that he was hurt at some point, which might have been the factor that created some interesting substitution patterns for the rest of the game.

Brandon Sims, one of the team’s best players so far, played only 15 minutes, while Jesse Bynum and Jacob Thies played 25 and 17 minutes, respectively, and failed to match Sims’ game score of 3.9. This trend is troubling, because it’s clear that the Bisons are loaded with players at the 2-4 spots on the floor (Sims, Andrepont, Smith, Kee, Sprewell). Not including Kee (who has still been good), those are the best players on the team.

At the other positions, that leaves the rotation of Reggie Bibb and Steven Barnett at point guard, which has been adequate at times but often very poor. Then there is the center spot, which typically belongs to Savadogo, with Thies and Bynum filling in at times. Savadogo has been decent, but I think the PER formula overrates him because he often does little with his rebounds once he gets them. Thies and Bynum both have trouble putting up numbers, so if Savadogo is out with an injury, this could be another cause for trouble.

Right now, we don’t have the optimum team makeup, so we have to make do with the pieces we have and get the most out of them. It will be interesting to see how Coach Morgan handles this difficult situation. If it’s possible to get more minutes out of the more efficient 2-4 guys (for example, by going without a true center or point guard) without giving back too much on the defensive end, I would be all for a change. A little experimentation may be in order, or we’ll have to sit back and watch players like Sims continue to get just 15 minutes a game. I’m sure the coach has plenty of ideas for how to work this problem out, though.

Next up is a home game this Saturday (1/7) against Delta State, the preseason favorite (and my current pick) to win the GSC West. Hopefully all the Rhodes Rowdies out there are planning to head back to school a bit early in order to attend this crucial conference season opener.

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2 thoughts on “Bisons outshoot Miners to win after long layoff

  1. Sims only played 15 minutes probably because of his injury to his back not because of the substitions….and Savadogo wasn’t hurt you ever think he might not play as much because he might not know offenses and might not be what the team needs on the court at that time and there is somethings that Theis and Bynum do that are a whole lot better than what Savadogo does and PER’s don’t factor in those parts of the game….Theis and Bynum do just fine at the center position!

  2. Thanks for taking the time to register…again, I always appreciate feedback.

    1. I didn’t realize that Sims was playing hurt, so that’s a perfectly good explanation for his lack of playing time on Monday.

    2. I agree that Savadogo seems to have trouble with the offense, and as I said, the PER formula overrates him because he does little with his rebounds (which represent most of his value). His high usage rate and low assist ratio are further testaments to his troubles because he doesn’t pass out of the post as much as he should. That is one thing (among others) that Thies and Bynum both do better than he does.

    3. Don’t think I’m personally attacking you or Jesse or Jacob with this next bit, because I’m not. Your sentiment is probably very common.

    I suppose there’s really no easy way to say that Thies and Bynum are not particularly skilled post players. I’m not doubting their effort, which I’m sure is second to none. The bottom line is that they don’t produce like other good post guys. You could argue that their role in the offense somehow underrates their performance, but I doubt that is the case. You could also argue that they are superior defenders (which would cause the PER formula to underrate them) but I just don’t see it.

    Let me use “usage rate” to further prove my point. An offense can flow through a good post player: see Matt Hall for a Harding example or DSU’s Jasper Johnson (arguably the best player in the conference right now) for a current GSC example. Hall was first in the conference in usage rate last year, and Johnson is fifth this year with a higher rate. Out of 76 GSC West regular players this year, Bynum ranks #65 in usage rate, and Thies is #74. Thies and Bynum don’t touch the ball as often for a reason: they’re not as skilled. They may do “just fine,” depending on how you define that, and they have big bodies, which are needed on every team. However, the best teams have good post players, and that’s one area where we can’t hang with DSU and UAM until we have one of our own.

    What Thies and Bynum both do well (again among other things) is this: they know their roles and fill them admirably.

    4. Thanks again for posting. Don’t let my disagreement keep you away…I really enjoy the discussion, and I hope you do too.

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