Friday, January 12, 2007

Road woes continue-Spartans ahead Sat.

Another woeful road effort from the Dogs

Hawaii postgame analysis:

The Bulldogs continued their road woes Thursday night in Hawaii dropping their first WAC game 83-66 to the Warriors. The Bulldogs started the game extremly slow and Coach Steve Cleveland was forced to call and early time out when they trailed 6-0. Early missed layups ended up being the key in this game with 5 missed layups being added up in the games first 6 minutes. Those missed opportunities put the Dogs in a hole and gave much needed confidence to the Hawaii shooters. Dominic McGuire had one of his worst outings of the season thus far and finished with only 9 pts on 1 of 8 shooting and had 4 turnovers. Hawaii finished shooting 50% from the field for the game and placed 6 players in double figures led by reserve guard Dominic Waters and his 15 point effort. Equally important was the Warriors finishing with a season low 11 turnovers, and their ability to outrebound the Bulldogs 26-9 in the first half, a half in which the Bulldogs shot a dismal 9 for 30 from the field. To sum this game up it was nearly a mirror image of the UC Santa Barbara game played earlier in the season, a game in which the Bulldogs got down early and lost 70-42. Coach Steve Cleveland had better find a way to get things done on the road because as things set right now there arent any teams you can beat on the road with efforts like the Dogs have had.

Coming in:

The Bulldogs are limping into a 3pm tipoff Saturday in San Jose after an 83-66 loss road loss Thursday night to a Hawaii team that was in need of a victory and played extremely well. San Jose State comes into the game with a 1-14 record, but has been playing much better basketball of late, highlighted by a good showing at Cameron Indoor Stadium against Duke, a six point loss at New Mexico State, and a 9 point home loss to a Nevada squad minus star Nick Fazekas. They have also been bolstered by the return of Senior guard Spencer Carlton, who returned December 23 after academic issues. Carlton is averaging 15.8 ppg in his first 5 appearances of the season. Also scoring in double figures are Center Menelik Barbary at 11.7 ppg (6.4 rpg) and Arizona State transfer Tim Pierce with 10.3 ppg. The Spartans are lead by second year coach George Nessman, the former Porterville JC coach who was named California State JC Coach of the Year in 2000.

Important Spartan Stats:

-Average 63 ppg while allowing 76.7

-Shooting 38.5% from the field and 30% from three

-Shooting 62% from the Free throw line

-Averaging 11 assists and 16.6 turnovers per game

-They are averaging 38.5 rpg and giving up the same

-F Devonte Thomas has averaged 11.2 pts and 6.6 rpg in last 5 games

Keys for the Bulldogs:

The Bulldogs have shown an inability to get things going early on the road this season. Coach Steve Cleveland and the staff need to stress the importance of the first 3-5 minutes of each half. They cannot afford to start in a hole once again, not only because of their waning road confidence but also because sluggish early play will bolster a Spartan squad looking for any positives to feed off of. Maybe a better approach is to run offense and avoid quick shots early in possession in the opening minutes, maybe attacking the rim early would lead to more success.

Forwards Dominic McGuire and Quinton Hosley need to get back to their attacking and finishing ways after a dismal combined effort of 21 points on 4-20 shooting with 6 turnovers against Hawaii. The Spartans will look to throw a wave of post players at Fresno State to both give fouls and frustrate the slashing of McGuire, Hosley, and Coleman. Those Spartan interior substitutions will also be active on the offensive glass, so the Bulldogs must not rely on athleticism to cover the defensive boards but rather boxing out and being in good position to rebound.

The Dogs must also finish around the rim at a much higher rate, early missed layups against the Warriors loomed large as the game wore on. Guard Eddie Miller chipped in 13 points off the bench Thursday, hopefully his confidence continues and leads to a solid effort on Saturday. Look for the Bulldogs to bounce back in a must win road game, a game they play with a chip on their shoulder in and turn up the defensive intensity in.

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