Harding loses home heartbreaker to UCA, 70-69

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:

HU Opp +/-
TS% 50.4 54.4 -0.040
OR% 38.9% 48.5% -0.096
TR 10.3 17.0 0.067
-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.

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2 thoughts on “Harding loses home heartbreaker to UCA, 70-69

  1. Problems with your evaluation…starting with the play that you said was inexcusable by Kee…i was down there in the stands right next to when that happend and there was no arguing all he did was ask the ref how could he not see him call a timeout and that was it there was no further action and i don’t think his man scored…..As far as you analysis of Theis he’s a banger not a scorer, although he can score it seems that thats not what he’s in there for…can he score yes? is that his motive NO if he was in there to score he would have attempted more than just 25 shots the entire year, Theis seems to hold his own and he does what he does best in there…..and as far as spreewell’s foul situation you should always pull somone out like spreewell when he’s getting anywhere close to foul trouble so you can have him in there later on when you’ll really need him…you have to pull him out as where he’s got averaging 4 fouls a game and doesn’t back off when he’s in trouble Coach Morgan did the right thing in that situation..experience will tell you that…and as far as shot selection goes i’m sure the team won’t mind if Lonnie pulls up for a 3 on a fast break regardless if he’s in a little slump, the only way to get out of a slump is to keep shooting..they dont’ seem to mind if he pulls up for a shot like that just the same for coach it doesn’t look like it bothers him too much either…and as far as some of these guys taking bad shots i don’t see your proof behind any of that i was looking at the stats and bibb and andrepont yes they take bad shots at times but who doesn’t but as far as Kee goes he’s shooting right at 47% for the year from the floor…so how can you say he’s taking bad shots…looks to me like he’s shooting shots that he can make

  2. Clearly we disagree on several points of analysis. Let me try to add to what’s been said.

    1. Cole Kee: I was at the game down front as well, and it shouldn’t matter if it was a question or an argument, Kee should have been getting himself down the floor rather than making his point. I can’t recall if it was his man that scored, but someone did, and Morgan was right to take him out after that play (whether or not that play was his reason for doing so).

    2. Jacob Thies: My analysis of Thies still stands, since him being a “banger” doesn’t make him efficient. If he can score, he should be doing it. The most objective analysis, however, suggests that he is not a good scorer when he tries. His true shooting percentage ranks him 65th out of 76 regulars in our division. It has nothing to do with him not being in there to score and everything to do with that just not being a skill he has.

    While I like Thies better than my PER formulas do because of his smart plays on both ends of the court, he is still not an efficient player. His positive brick index of 1.3 suggests that his 26 attempted shots have been too many, because they just don’t go in often enough (especially given that they’re all from within about 10 feet.

    Thies has decent passing skills, sporting an above-average assist ratio of 15.1, but that is offset by his poor 20.8 turnover ratio (and turnovers are much more damaging than assists are helpful).

    Your argument that Thies “seems to hold his own” is a good one. He does seem to do that, but the problem is that he doesn’t hold his own. Whatever decent job he may do on the defensive end (which isn’t covered as well by PER), I would say is offset by his fourth-worst efficiency rating in the conference. His usage rate is very low, which means that he’s not touching the ball a whole lot when he’s out there, but we could use someone who does touch the ball and does good things with it. I’m not sure exactly what you mean when you say Thies “does what he does best,” but we might have a better team if we had more talented players out there doing what they do best.

    Of course, I say all this without meaning to hurt anyone’s feelings. These aren’t meant to be personal attacks, just objective analyses of players. I don’t know Jacob, but I’m sure he’s a great guy, and I know he’s a heck of a lot better player than I ever was.

    3. Sprewell’s foul trouble: I really don’t see where you’re going with that argument. I already showed that we needed him in there when Coach Morgan took him out. He played 18 minutes and picked up four fouls, so if you figure he averaged a foul every 4.5 minutes, that’s another 4.5 minutes he should have been out there playing his typically excellent defense/rebounding game. Sure, you have to sit him after a third foul in the first half, but not after a second. Not when he’s one of your two best players and you have to use someone else for the remaining 10:39. Hopefully he can learn to back down a little bit, because you’re right about that part. We needed him in there.

    4. Lonnie’s wide-open 3: If Lonnie had been all alone on the fast break, I wouldn’t have had such a big problem with that particular shot. He’s an excellent shooter and can hit it more often than not. However, when you have players open under the basket, I still think that shot doesn’t make sense. You have to take the gimme shot when they give it to you.

    The only way to get out of a slump may be to keep shooting. Then again, it’s also the only way to stay in a slump that hurts your team. I think he should keep shooting, too, so I guess I’m just criticizing that one shot.

    5. Shot selection in general: I can make the case for Andrepont and Bibb, but you seem to agree with me there. Everyone does take bad shots; they just take more than their share. Cole and Lonnie have both been solid shooters this year, and what made me think that Cole was having trouble with his shot was his decline in efficiency. I looked back, and that decline seems to be more related to his drop in rebound rate and increasingly poor assist and turnover ratios, rather than his shot. You’re dead-on about him.

    As for Lonnie, I know he has a hard time getting off shots at all. His 3pt% has been dropping since the beginning of the season, presumably because we’re now playing opponents who know he’s an excellent shooter, so he has to work that much harder. The only reason his efficiency hasn’t declined with his three-point shot is that he is actually making more two-point baskets now than at the start of the year.

    So, in a nutshell, Cole and Lonnie should be fine as far as shot selection goes, but I do hope that Reggie and Patrick (and Steven Barnett and Savadogo) won’t force up as many bad shots as they have so far this year.

    6. I know I’m very critical at times myself, but I try to put a positive spin on things if possible and point out what players are doing well. Hopefully you like what you read here and find some of what I have to say useful or insightful, rather than mean-spirited. If not, I enjoy the discussion regardless.

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