Sunday, February 04, 2007

The elusive had-A road victory!

Where have you been Mr. Clutch?

Well, the WAC road victory can be checked off the list. Many thought it was not going to get done after watching the recent performances the Bulldogs have had, but they did it Saturday night. I know its sad to be excited about a road victory over lowly Idaho but the way that the road has been to the 'Dogs any win away from the SMC is a monumental victory.

Javance Coleman:

The real odd part about this victory was not that it was in OT or that they didnt shoot particularly well again, it was the fact that senior guard Javance Coleman stepped up in a very big way and was automatic from the line and hit a huuuuge 3.

Coleman scored 9 points in the extra frame, he was 6-6 from the line and shot a 25 footer from the right wing that was a sight to behold. After the shot clock had run down inexplicably fast (Duke timer in Idaho doing the opposite?) Coleman ended up with the ball on the right wing in front of his bench and had to let it fly. That may have been the best thing going for him because he had no conscience on it.

It was nice to see the senior Coleman leading his team and doing so by asking for the ball and demanding it when Idaho was in foul mode. He has been much maligned for a large part of the season for both his shooting woes and his on court attitude at times. I have a lot of respect for what he did last night, especially since it was on the road. I will not claim he has turned the corner because with Coleman we can never be sure of anything, even down to his ability to catch a simple chest pass.

What else transpired:

-Quinton Hosley and Dominic McGuire combine for 28 rebounds, including 8 offensive. The rest of the team combined for 10.

-To go with his 14 boards McGuire had 21 points, 7 assists, and 1 block that should have been 2. In overtime the officials called a goaltend on an obvious blocked shot. McGuire missed 4 layups in this game, but he finished enough of them to get the job done. He got mugged "Teddy Dupay" style on a breakaway and took a nasty spill but thankfully got up. He managed to finish the dunk as he was getting fouled from behind. He flew into the Basket assembly in quite the contorted way.

-Ive already mentioned Coleman and he obviously came up big when it mattered most.

-Guard Eddie Miller got things going early which was needed, although they gave up the lead shortly thereafter, I think Miller's early scoring was crucial.

-Kevin Bell also shot the ball well early and did a great job pressuring the ball all game long. He made it difficult for Idaho to get into offense. I dont like the fact that the point guard Bell only managed 1 assist. Not good.

-Hector Hernandez and Tyson Parker combined for 1-10 from the field. Hernandez had 6 boards, it was nice to see Hector collect a rebound at 6'9". He also had a crucial assist late in regulation to McGuire for a 3 point play and took a charge at which was a shock to all. Parker had a steal and a couple of nice passes at important stretches, especially the unselfish feed to McGuire that gave him an open look at 3.

What was wrong:

-Still lingering issues with finishing near the rim although they did make more in this contest. My favorite stretch read like this:

5:26 Steal by McGuire, Dominic
5:22 Missed layup by McGuire, Dominic
5:22 Rebound(off) by Hosley, Quinton
5:19 Missed layup by Hosley, Quinton
5:17 Rebound(off) by McGuire, Dominic
5:15 Missed layup by McGuire, Dominic

Probably need to continue work on that finishing issue

-Hector Hernandez continues his shooting woes, they are brought on by him forcing 3s and not setting up well. He fades away or is off balance on many of his misses. He is letting it get to him mentally. He needs to let the game come to him in the flow, the one time he set up well and shot it squared up he buried it.

-Defensively, they gave up a few too many offensive boards and failed to get hands up on shooters multiple times. When they were lax on shooters, Idaho knocked the shots down.

-Cleaned up the turnover issue in the second half after having 8 in the first they finished with 12 total.

-Iam not impressed with 12 assists on 21 baskets at all. 45 minutes and only 12 assists is unacceptable to me.

Odds and ends:

-The defense did a tremendous job throughout the final 10 minutes and into overtime. Idaho was flustered, could not run their sets, constantly ran the shot clock down and had to force up bad shots. They did a decent job on the defensive glass and negated second shots when it mattered most. They forced 18 Idaho turnovers on the road which was a great sign of defensive intensity. The last three games have been well played on the defensive end.

-Give credit to Coach Steve Cleveland and his utilization of the full and 3/4 court pressure. He did not use it much in the first half, but he put it on at the right times. Some possessions they denied the inbounder and forced the timeout, other times they let it in and picked up 3/4. He also employed it correctly and used timeouts wisely to conserve his teams energy. Well done coach.

-The officiating was good for the first 39 minutes. In the final minute of regulation and in overtime the Bulldogs were without a doubt getting the shaft from the crew working the game. Two of them on fouls that never occured and one on a called goaltend that was a clean block.

Up Next:

The Bulldogs return home and will play a Thursday night game versus #13/15 Nevada. Gametime is 7pm and fans are asked to wear all red for the "red out" which is a spin on the "white out" versus Stanford earlier in the season. If the color gimmick didnt work against the Cardinal, why do it against the dominant Wolfpack?

Look for a game preview Tuesday or Wednesday.

Fresno Bee Article
Box Score

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