Reply To: Bucknell – Game 9

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Quote: “From memory, the Thomas 3s seemed to happen when defense was sagging back to help inside, then the ball was kicked out. Maybe didn’t have him identified as a serious 3-threat.

I’d have to watch the last 10 mins again to understand what happened on O overall. Definitely didn’t get the same good looks, but I can’t explain why. Movement didn’t seem to be the same as it was earlier – people or the ball. In fairness, I do think that Paulsen made some D changes that may have caused confusion. I recall coverage guys commenting on a switch to zone.

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In the final few minutes, Thomas had four 3-point plays – one traditional 3-point play plus three from beyond the arc. In the first three cases, he was being guarded by PF’s who could not stay anywhere close to him. On the drive, he easily went past Goldsborough. The next trip down court, Baltimore stayed near the basket while Thomas was beyond the arc. The next time, Goldsborough didn’t guard him when he moved beyond the arc. On the final three, LU was in a 2-3 zone. Thomas got an open look but it was a long one, with not much time on the shot clock, and it hit backboard before going in. No defensive issues on that one.

One issue is that Thomas is really a SF (6-6, maybe 210 lbs). Goldsborough and Baltimore can’t really stay with him, BUT There is also NO chance of him guarding Goldsborough down low. However LU didn’t do a good job isolating him. On one occasion they got him the ball and he buried Thomas for an easy layup. On one other occasion, they also got him the ball in good low post position but Bucknell came with a hard double-team as he put it to the floor, resulting in a hurried pass that was easily intercepted.

As for the scouting report, Thomas was 6-7 on threes going into this game and he was a good 3-point shooter in HS – so I’m sure the LU coaches knew he was a significant threat from that distance. One funny thing is that the PL determines who qualifies for the 3-point pct leaders based on attempts, as opposed to made baskets. So Rufer is 2nd in league play with 9-17 on threes and Worth Smith is among the leaders with 9-19. But Thomas, having shot 9-10 on threes (i.e. making the same number on far fewer attempts), does not get a listing. However if he quickly missed five in a row, then he’d be leading the league.

As for the defense, the only real change down the stretch for Bucknell was a couple of hard double-teams, one on Goldsborough and one on Kempton, that resulted in turnovers. Paulsen virtually never plays zone – maybe once a season – and this wasn’t the game. He also never presses and never traps, so there are few surprises.