Friday, January 30, 2009

Friday Morning Shootaround

What a game out in Blacksburg last night. Virginia Tech controlled the first half. Clemson's press was completely ineffective last night. The Hokies used quick, long passes up the sideline to avoid being trapped, which created situations where Tech had numbers offensively. As a result, Tech got a ton of open looks and open lay-ups in the first half.

Malcolm Delaney was one of the guys that feasted on those open looks. He scored 22 of his 37 points in the first half (including a 60 foot heave at the first half buzzer).

In the second half, Clemson again came out in their press, and again it was ineffective. The Tigers had gotten the lead down to six before the half, but an 11-2 run (started by Delaney's 60 footer) pushed the lead back out to 15, 61-46, at the 17:14 mark. That is when Clemson would come out of their press, and go to a trapping man-to-man defense in the half court.

The Tiger's half court defense held Tech to just 21 points the rest of the way, and they used a 26-5 run over the next 10 minutes to take their biggest lead of the game, 72-66. KC Rivers scored 13 of his 29 points in the run, and capped it with his seventh three of the game.

But Tech would respond. Malcolm Delaney scored seven of the next 13 Hokie points, including a three with 3:25 left to put Tech up 79-76. But with the game tied at 80 and 1:25 left, David Potter hit a three from the top of the key, and Clemson would hang on, forcing a three way tie in third place in the ACC.

Potter finished with 7 points, 7 assists and 5 boards while Trevor Booker had 21 and 13. Jeff Allen added 13 and 9 boards for Tech, who only got 10 points from leading scorer AD Vassallo.

Before this game, I really had my doubts about Clemson - I couldn't decide if they were just another Tiger team that had a hot start. But they really impressed me with their come back for two reasons. First, they were down 15 on the road (Cassell Coliseum is a tough place to play) to a Tech team playing just about its best basketball. Second, they were able to come back without pressing, which is their MO defensively. They were able to grind out stops in the half court, which just proves that this team is much more versatile than people give them credit for. I don't want to say that they are up with Duke, Wake, and UNC, but they are probably the fourth best team in the ACC right now.

The rest of the night's games:

  • Gonzaga 69, St. Mary's 62: A match-up of arguably the two best teams on the West Coast fizzled early as Patty Mills had to leave the game with three minutes left in the first half due to a right wrist injury (they are calling it a sprain). The Gael's offense really struggled without the Aussie in the second half as they shot just 33% and scored only 23 points (Mills alone had 18 in the first 17 minutes of the game).

    Gonzaga used a 28-11 run at the start of the second half to build up a 61-50 lead. St. Mary's would keep fighting and scrapping, but without Mills they couldn't get into their offense and couldn't score. Diamon Simpson led the Gaels with 17 and 12, going 7-7 from the floor, but without Mills to provide spacing, he was limited in the number of post touches he got.

    The guy on Gonzaga who has been making the most noise of late has been Matt Bouldin. He had 17 last night, which was right on his average over the previous six games. He is such a smart, fundamentally sound player. He does it all on the floor - shoot, pass, defend - and is becoming the go-to guy for the 'Zags and the guy they run their offense through.
  • Minnesota 59, Illinois 36: Talk about an ugly game to watch. The halftime score was 22-16, as the two teams combined to shoot 28% from the field. The Gophers figured it out a bit in the second half on the strength of 10 points from Lawrence Westbrook, who capped a 19-7 run with a three that pushed the lead to 45-27. Illinois shot 29.7% from the field on the game, hitting just 2-16 from deep, and did not put a player into double figures. It was a huge win for Minnesota. They whiffed against Purdue and Michigan State, and not only did this win put them all alone in third place in the Big Ten, but it ended a 20 game losing streak against the Illini.
  • UCLA 81, Cal 66: The story of this game was steals. UCLA tallied 16 steals (forcing 21 total Cal turnovers) which led to numerous wide open transition lay-ups. UCLA used a 19-2 run early in the second half to blow open a three point game. Theo Robertson scored all 19 of his points in the second half, but it wasn't enough as Jerome Randle and Patrick Christopher combined for just 17 points, less than half their season average. Darren Collison led the Bruins with 18 points, 5 assists, and 3 steals, while freshman Jrue Holiday added 13 points. With the win, the Bruins moved into a tie in first place in the league because...
  • Arizona 106, Washington 97: The Wildcats used a 13-0 run midway through the second half to build a 69-53 lead. But Washington would keep chipping away. Using a a trapping, pressure defense, the Huskies were able to widdle the lead down to 91-88 before Zane Johnson hit a three that just about iced it. The Huskies would get no closer than five the rest of the way. Arizona made some huge free throws down the stretch as the Huskies resorted to fouling fairly early (one of the reasons the second half score was 69-59 - compare that to the score of the Minnesota-Illinois game). UA hit 34-40 from the line in the second half. Nic Wise led the Wildcats with 29 points (including 14-14 from the line) and 8 assists while Chase Budinger added 25 and 8 boards. Jon Brockman led U-dub with 27 and 16. The loss knocked the Huskies from the perch all alone atop the Pac-10.
  • Washington State 65, Arizona State 55: Freshman Klay Thompson single-handedly busted the Sun Devil zone, going for 28 points (including 8-10 from three) as Wazzu bounced back after being swept at home last weekend. Aron Baynes had 22 and 9 boards for the Cougars, who held ASU to just 8-29 shooting in the second half (in which they outscored the Sun Devils 38-25). James Harden had 26, but he was just 8-20 from the floor and 8-13 from the line.
  • USC 70, Stanford 69: Lawrence Hill had 19 points, but he needed 21 as he missed a baseline jumper at the buzzer. Taj Gibson had 20 and Leonard Washington and Daniel Hackett both added 12. Landry Fields had 18 for the Cardinal.
  • Michigan State 71, Iowa 56: Kalin Lucas and Durrell Summers both stayed hot as they scored 24 and 21 points, respectively.
  • Evansville 65, Drake 62: This happened -



  • Siena 91, Canisius 73
  • Utah Valley 123, Chicago State 121 4OT: Ryan Toolson led UVSU to the 4OT win by scoring 63 points, the second time we've had someone hit 60 this season (remember Ben Woodside from North Dakota State?). Toolson also had 12 boards and 6 assists. He wasn't the only guy to go off in this one - Chicago State got 41 from David Holston and 40 from John Cantrell.
  • Dayton 47, St. Louis 46
  • North Dakota State 81, Oakland 71
  • Seton Hall 70, Rutgers 67
  • Arkansas 89, Alabama 80
  • Utah State 72, Nevada 61: If Utah State wants to ensure themselves an at-large bid if they happen to lose in the WAC tourney, they need to win out. Their SOS? 218th in the country. Puts their 19-1 record in perspective a bit, doesn't it?
  • Portland 69, San Diego 55

1 comment:

coffee said...

63 points in one game? Toolson was on fire!