I give my apologies for the delayed report. My schedule this semester doesn’t always allow for timely basketball reporting, but I’m doing my best.
Frederick Campbell became a sort of unlikely hero in last night’s game, receiving a pass from Darryl Jones and hitting the game winning three with 8 ticks left on the clock. The Bisons did not take their final timeout after the three, and they ended up not being able to get off a good shot to win the game. Poor shot selection and execution on the fast break, along with assorted other mental errors lost what was otherwise an excellent and emotional battle for HU.
Here are the keys:
|-0.3||Predicted net efficiency|
|-1.8||Actual net efficiency|
The Bears shot well enough from the field to take advantage of their rebounding advantage over the Bisons, signaling a recurring theme in the conference season so far. Harding has yet to outperform a GSC West opponent on the glass, and this year’s team doesn’t have the shooting ability (or discipline) to overcome such a deficit on a nightly basis. UCA didn’t play defense like they normally do, and they really seemed to have trouble with Lonnie Smith on the inside, as he sliced through the Bears for several easy layups.
Smith led the Bisons with 17 points. As a complement, Alassane Savadogo had his best game of the season from a shooting perspective, hitting 7 of his 8 shots from the field, although he missed both of his free throw attempts. Cole Kee was solid, aside from one inexcusable play on defense, when he was arguing with the refs as the play quickly moved to the other end of the court. Plays like that don’t show up on my stat sheets, so I feel somewhat compelled to discuss them when they’re as egregious as that error was. On the other hand, Jacob Thies had a very nice defensive play, taking Harding’s only charge (that I can remember). Those types of plays increase his defensive value, and he also showed a nice offensive move in scoring his only basket of the game. If he did that more often, he could be a lot more valuable as a significant reserve in the post.
Now, I have two other points of discussion from Harding’s perspective. First is the management of Ceso Sprewell’s foul situation. I won’t say it’s wrong to have a policy of taking a player out when he has two fouls in the first half, but when he is arguably your best player, there are over ten minutes remaining in the half, and you’re in the midst of a nice run, I just don’t follow Coach Morgan’s reasoning with that situation.
There are things I might do differently in several aspects of the coaching game, but I tend to give Morgan the benefit of the doubt, given his experience. I just don’t understand this move, that’s all. We were in the midst of a 6-0 run with Ceso out there, close to overcoming our early deficit, and then Ceso picked up two quick fouls and was out. UCA took charge and went on a 6-2 run over the next four minutes, giving them some breathing room until we recovered and took a one-point lead at the half. Sure, there are no guarantees that we were going to sustain our run, but when I see Ceso’s final line of just 18 minutes and four personal fouls, it’s hard not to wonder what might have been. I suppose, as the saying goes, hindsight is 20/20.
My other point of discussion is our shot selection, which was decent at best and atrocious otherwise. Specifically, I remember a 4-on-1 fast break when Lonnie took a three (admittedly wide-open), rather than getting it inside to one of at least two players who were open under the basket. I don’t care if he hits 85% of his threes with no one on him in practice. I’d much rather see him pass it inside for the 99% certain basket, especially since his outside shot hasn’t been falling as much lately in games. Reggie Bibb and Patrick Andrepont were also culprits tonight, and Cole Kee has been at times, although if you base an analysis solely on 3-point percentage, he’s been our best outside threat this year.
Now that I’ve successfully gone overboard with my micro-management, I suppose it’s time to move on to what UCA did, because they did do a lot of things right to get the win. It certainly didn’t hurt to have their best player, Darryl Jones, back from whatever had sidelined him for the past couple of games. His 16 points led the Bears, although his four turnovers would make Aubrey Bruner my player of the game from UCA’s perspective. Bruner hit four of six threes, just killing us with the deep ball off the bench. Joey Cortez played a solid game running the point as well, scoring 7 points and pulling down 9 rebounds.
Let’s hope the Bisons can recover on Thursday against Christian Brothers. Rebounding and shot selection will hopefully be the emphases in practice leading up to this one.