Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Bulldogs Stopped at Home by Cardinal

Tough night at the SMC for the Dogs

It was the game that many pointed to coming in to this season, a home date with a middle of the road PAC-10 team that would be a great opportuntity to get the fans out and show them their is a reason to get to the Save Mart Center and support the Bulldogs. That nearly happened Tuesday night if it wasnt for a few key issues.
  • Free throw shooting-Bulldogs finish 14-25 from the stripe
  • Javance Coleman-Finishes 1-10 from the floor and contributes next to nothing in 31 min
  • Eddie Miller-Played 24 minutes and only shot two shots from the floor
  • Stanford made only 6 threes, but they were wide open on 4 of them
  • The inside presence of the Cardinal wore down the Dogs on the interior
  • 2 key lapses on the boards led to second possesions for Stanford that they converted
  • Too many forced 3s as usual, and no patience on the offensive end
  • Lastly, the officials needed to swallow their whistles at key points in the 2nd half
The game started extremely slow, Dogs couldnt get a shot to go down and Stanford started to find it. Coach Steve Cleveland made a mistake by trying to wait for the first TV timeout to not burn one of his. That proved costly as before he knew it the Cardinal went on a 10-0 run and with just under 16 in the first half remaining it was 12-2 Stanford. The Dogs trailed the entire first half and could not cut into the 7-10 point Stanford lead due to poor shot selection coupled with poor shooting. Coleman especially, who finished 1 for 10 from the floor took too many shots that in all honesty may as well be in the turnover category. Too many one and done possesions without an opportunity for an offensive rebound and they didnt run any of the shot clock. Halftime score:34-26 Stanford

The second half started well with junior F/C Hector Hernandez burying 2 threes from the same spot to cut into the 8 point deficit. The way the ebb and flow of the game went reminded me of the Creighton/FSU from Saturday where the Blue Jays could never quite gain control and get over the hump. The Bulldogs were finally able to overcome the deficit and bring the crowd back into it(The largest crowd to ever watch and FSU Basketball game which ended up an announce 15,142) with a Kevin Bell three to take the 44-43 lead with 13 minutes remaining.

From that point on the game was a back and forth nailbiter, the only thing that hampered the overrall enjoyment was the officials insistance to interject themselves in the contest at the most inopportune times. They blew their whistles twice to stop the flow of the game, one a McGuire block that was clean that gave Stanford 2 free throws, and another where Hosley was hustling and made the slightest contact with a Stanford player when he was on his way for a dunk and a 4 point Dog lead. Those two plays were gamechangers for sure, the crowd was definately into it but they were ready to explode and I felt if they did they would overwhelm the Cardinal. The Dogs never could get up by two possesions worth of points, and when they led by three Stanford guard Anthony Goods buried a deep three to knot it up at 56.

Lastly, I want to say that junior forward Dominic McGuire carried this team in the second half with his slashing and finishing abilites around the rim. Without McGuire and Hosley coming up big, this would have been an easy road W for the Cardinal.

Stat line for both of the read:

McGuire-25 pts-13 rebs-2 assts-2 blks-2 stls
Q Hosley-18pts-14 rebs-2assts -1 blk -2 stls

On to Saturday where Coach Cleveland and his Bulldogs will try to shake this difficult home loss with a victory over Cal Poly, who will be making the trip inland to the flatlands from the Central Coast. Will there be a hangover and will the cold shooting remain? Can Coleman find and sort of way to get the ball in the hole? Will ball movement and player movement be a point of emphasis leading up to Saturday? These questions need to be answered with a resounding yes to renew my confidence that this team can not only compete in the WAC but compete for a title in it against the like of Nevada, NMSU, and Utah State. Im a bit worried about that right now.

Also, they really pushed attendance of this game, with a little ad campaign, and it really work with the largest crowd in SMC history, with over 15,500 people.


Box Score

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