Thursday, January 18, 2007

'Dogs lose 3rd straight on the road

The Wolfpack shot 48% from the field, 44% from 3

The Bulldogs lost their third consecutive WAC road contest last night against #15 Nevada. The Bulldogs ran into a Nevada team that had been without C Nick Fazekas, but what do you know Thursday was his first game back after an ankle injury. Fazekas was obviously limited in his movement and was noticeably gimpy, its just too bad the Dogs couldnt find themselves a hobbled player that could drop 20 points in a first game back.

This game started well for the Bulldogs considering their recent track record in the games first 5 minutes. What became one of the key issues in the game was when Nevada came out and missed their first 6 shots the Dogs needed to run out to a 6-8 point lead. Unfortunately, the Bulldogs did not shoot well in the early going but did hold the lead for the first 8 minutes. It was the type of game that had one feeling that if the Wolfpack took the lead at any point they would not hand it back over at all.

Why it ended in a loss:

-They give up a career high 18 points to Dennis Ikovlev on 6-11 shooting. What is with this team and their ability to give up season and career highs to teams' 5th or 6th offensive options? Its not as though the guy went out and made 9 layups, he played well and did not look like a 6ppg guy.

-You do not win too many games when your opponent shoots 31-64 from the field(48%), 11-25 from three(44%), and 12-16 from the line(75%).

-Point guard Kevin Bell once again shot too many jumshots in the early going, very reminiscent of the Idaho game to open WAC play. He finished 2-8 from the field in the first half. He needs to shoot 8 shots total in the game, with a maximum of 4 of those shots coming from three.

-Dominic McGuire and Quinton Hosley are having real issues finishing around the rim. At one point in the game, Hosley had missed 5 0f 6 shots at the rim. McGuire has been scouted well and teams are pushing and redirecting him when he attacks the rim.

-McGuire doesnt draw the amount of fouls he should because he is not initiating the contact. He is trying to jump around and make a tough shot instead of taking it right to the defender. He did finish with 19 points though but he needed to have 25 for this team to win tonight

-When Nevada guard Marcellus Kemp is making consecutive 25 footer, there is not too much a team can do. Kemp finished with 22 but I was expecting 20-25 points coming in.

-The Wolfpack may have started the game missing consecutive shots but they did not have an extended scoring drought once they gained the lead from the Bulldogs. When it looked as though they may have issues scoring the ball Kemp, Fazekas, and Sessions got the job done.

-Guards Kevin Bell and Javance Coleman combine to shoot 2-12 from 3. Take them out of the team 3 point shooting and the Dogs are 8-22, which is 36%. What if Coleman and Bell just shot 1-3 each and the other 6 shots were attacking the rim or other players? Makes you wonder doesnt it.

What was done right:

-The Bulldogs only turned the ball over 5 times the entire game. This was a very positive sign considering that they were on the road against the WACs best. If they could do this more often, it could make up for their low shooting percentages at times. Valuing possesions if big, and this was why they were able to shoot 5 more shots from the field than the Wolfpack.

-10 offensive rebounds were very improtant and helped them keep in the game. Isnt it interesting that against a team like Nevada they are able to get on the offensive glass but when they play a weaker opponent they cant collect any offensive boards? It may have to do with shot selection.

-Sean Taylor and Eddie Miller off the bench. Taylor came in and played 14 minutes and had 2 scores, 2 offensive rebounds, and did not turn the ball over and did not make any big defensive mistakes. Mill was able to come in and give them double figures off the bench, he finished with 10. He also played well defensively and he managed to block two shots.

-5 players scoring in double figures does not lose too many games. It is the type of balanced attack that is needed if there isnt a player that is going to score 25 points.

-The Bulldogs had 19 assists and all five of the starters shared the ball. The assist to turnover ratio was an awesome 19 to 5. Now if they could have knocked down a few more shots it would have been a whole different game.

-Although Dominic McGuire did not play a great game he was able to shake off the past to that were just plain bad and put together a nice effort on the road.

-They were able to get to the line on the road and they shot 13-16 from the charity stripe. Shooting well from there kept them in it without a doubt.

Final Analysis:

The good news is that they played pretty well on the road and did many of the necessary things to win against most teams. The problem was it wasnt enough and all that matters is that they are tripping home from Reno with a loss.

The Bulldogs ran into a buzzsaw in Reno Thursday, a team returning their star who scored 20 and had 10 rebounds. They also had their star guard score 22 on top of that and those are not the reason for the loss, I expected those numbers to be put up. Ikovlev averaging 6 ppg scoring 18 is the real issue here, and if the Bulldogs finish 2 or 3 more shots at the rim and hit a couple of those crucial 3s in the second half I would be typing about a victory right now.

ESPN Box Score


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