Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Exposed

Anderson 73, Calvin 60 (box score)

Calvin obviously lost this game in the first half, and the problems existed on both ends of the floor.

On offense, poor shot selection and poor luck on decent shots were paired together resulting in a complete lack of offensive flow. It struck me that a problem may exist due to too few players looking to take a shot. Snikkers and Powell and always willing to pull the trigger, but beyond those two, I didn't notice anyone with the first instinct to let the ball fly. And I'm not talking about forcing up shots here. I'm talking about receiving the ball with a bit of separation -- reasonable shots.

This isn't necessarily a bad thing -- if you don't think you have the shot, you probably shouldn't take it -- but when eight guys in a ten man rotation are always looking to pass first, you're going run into issues. Calvin doesn't have that Andy Draayer type player who's going to knock down a three if you give him an inch, but they do have some players who can hit from the outside. The Knights did attempt 16 three pointers (eight in each half) so perhaps I'm simply overreacting to a few instances that stood out to me, but a guy like Jordan Mast has got to trust himself enough to let one fly when he's open.



Defense was a mess for much of the night, especially in the interior. I haven't combed through the numbers yet, but here's perhaps the single most telling stat from last night: Anderson came away with 50 points in the paint. There were too many instances of defenders in 'help' position who failed to actually help deny the dribbler entrance into the paint. There were too many cutters sneaking to the basket behind the defense. Too many soft fouls after getting beat to the bucket.

Anyway, 50 points in the paint plus seven free throws means that only 16 Anderson points came on jump shots from mid-range or further. In the first half the ratio here was even worse, 32 of the 44 points came in the paint. Five points were added on free throws, so only seven points (just 3 of their 19 made field goals) came from any sort of distance. Yeesh.

The good news is that pretty much all of Calvin's weaknesses were exposed. They don't have the reliable three point shooters that can help spark a run. They don't have the experience to effectively execute the defense. They too often pass up decent looks forcing someone like Snikkers to end up with a bad shot.

The other good news is that they "won" the second half. That doesn't really mean a whole lot when you're down by 15 though, because in the late going, the opponent is more interested in using their offensive possessions to run down the clock than getting a bucket. Still, they did look much improved in the second half, and although they couldn't find that one big run to make the game a game, they didn't allow it to get really ugly.

On the foul disparity. It was a little bit ridiculous. I'm not one that thinks that fouls must be even, but this game was not consistently called. The most comical (although not at the time) moment was when a long rebound sailed just over the head of Tyler Kruis into the hands of an off-balanced Anderson player who hit the deck after catching the ball. From my angle there was a clear six inches (or more) of separation between Kruis and the Anderson player (Kurtis Runyan, I think it was), but from the ref's angle (using his x-ray vision to see through Kruis) it was a foul. Such is life though. We move on.

Major kudos to the Anderson students. They had a good turnout and kept the noise level up throughout the game. They also were harsh on the Calvin players and coaches -- not in an inappropriate way -- but in a relentless sort of fashion that I like to commend. They were a bit light on the organized cheering/chanting, but I'd take the volume over sitting down with mouths closed any day. Would be nice to see the Calvin students bring that sort of attitude at the Van Noord Arena.

A few pictures of the Anderson Gym. It appears as though the gymnasium is older, but it's connected to a brand new looking recreation and fitness center. I'm pretty sure you can click on the pictures for larger versions.




Stats-and-more to come.

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