Sunday, February 25, 2007

Huge road victory puts streak at 4

NMSU tried hack a D-Mac and it didnt work

It was a huge road win for Coach Steve Cleveland and the Bulldogs last night, extending the win streak to 4 and finishing their last true road trip 2-0. After fouling and free throws, the Dogs led by 2 60-58 and NMSU had 10 seconds to make something happen. Great defense by the Bulldogs disallowed an attempt by Elijah Ingram, he passed to leading scorer Justin Hawkins and Hawkins desperation 3 would not fall.

This was a great job by FSU of overcoming adversity in a hostile environment and showing an ability to win a tough road game when not playing great offensive basketball. Snapping a teams 19 game home winning streak shows something about the growth of this team and their willingness to gut it out and play with maximum effort.

Lets talk negatives first:

-32% FG shooting on 19-59 total
-29% 3PT shooting on 9-31 total 3-15 2nd half
-Had issues switching and finding people on ball screens gave up 7 3s
-Were not getting the most favorable calls in the 2nd half
-Kevin Bell 1-10 from the field
-Hector Hernandez 0-5 in the 2nd half

Why they won the game:

-NMSU 0 2nd chance points
-16 more FG attempts than NMSU makes up for 32% shooting
-14 offensive rebounds gave the Dogs more possesions
-Kept the much larger Aggies off the glass only 7 off. rebounds total
-Only commited 7 turnovers on the road and made the Aggies work defensively
-Aggies committed 16 turnovers and were frustrated
-Kept NMSU at arms length the whole way lead for first 32 minutes
-Kevin Bell with 10 assists he played a great game distributed masterfully
-Eddie Miller hits five threes on 5-11 and is a threat all game long
-Hector Hernandez was hot in the 1st half played very well defensively and his effort was great
-Great game plan by the coaches they adjusted and got them to play well defensively
-The effort was special and they wanted it bad
-They made 9-10 from the free throw line down the stretch which was the reason they held off the Aggies. McGuire and Hosley were true leaders and knocked them down.

Lets talk individuals:

-Eddie Miller- I said he needed to score 12 or more points and he had 15, he was a threat the whole game and made shots in both halfs. He also helped on the glass and had a career high 6 boards. Nice effort E.

-Kevin Bell- Did not shoot well at all (1-10) but the one shot he made was really sweet. The scoring wasnt the thing here, he was the most important player on the floor because of his leadership, ability to break the press, and his distributing. They had him for 10 assists and I thought I counted 12-13 in my replay. Take a bow son, take a bow.

-Hector Hernandez- Great game. 11 first half points and got the offense going. Nice to see him do that in front of the 200 friends and family. He did not hit a shot in the 2nd half but he played much better defense, and he played inspired, full effort basketball that I have been asking for. Well done HH.

-Quinton Hosley- Steady. A few erratic offensive touches where he was unsure of whether to shoot or pass. Got on the glass and battled finished with 7 rebounds. Made 6-6 at the line which was huge. Scored points late on the line when the Dogs were in need. He also added three steals. Just do what you do Q.

-Dominic McGuire- Scored 15 points, steady effort and battled. He did not block the shots weve become accustomed to but that wasnt the point. He changed shots and had 7 rebounds. Had free throw issues early but hit all but one in the last two minutes, he was a leader. He also buried a deeep three right in front of the FSU bench to extend the 2nd half lead to 7. Keep it up Dom.

-Alex Blair- 17 minutes. Had two offensive rebounds and played hard. His dunk right before time expired at half was huge and pushed the lead to 31-23. Has had issues catching the ball and traveling inside of late and needs to work on that leadind up to the Boise State game. He made 1-2 at the line which is improvement. Love the effort keep bringing it.

-Cleveland and staff- The emphasis on defense is obvious, it has allowed them to both compete in and win games where the offense has been sluggish or they have shot below 35%. The emphasis on the defensive boards has been huge and is a key to the winning streak no doubt.

They have slowed the team down offensively and dictated tempo of late and limited the extent of opponents runs by running clock and avoiding high numbers of quick shots. They realize that as the season wears on it is the teams that can defend in the halfcourt and execute and score in the halfcourt are the teams that will have the most potential for success.


Box Score

Up Next:

The Bulldogs get a little break before they return to the SMC Thursday to face a Boise State team that defeated the Bulldogs in the 1st meeting this season. They have a few days to rest and regroup and work on some deficient areas on the offensive end. They will be practicing with a very positive tone because of the recent success.

The fans should show up to the SMC Thursday in larger numbers and show the team an appreciation for the road effort they put together. They should come out and play well, they need to avoid overconfidence and getting away from what has keyed there recent success.

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