Agree, agree, agree with what everyone has said – especially the decision to take the air out of the ball over the final few minutes of play, but allow me to offer, a new to some but old theory to others.
8/10 th of a second remaining and Loyola’s Andre Walker drains his 5th three of the night – a step-back beauty over our freshman Matt Holba (who is still spinning on his tired heals) and our world on this Board has come to an end. Like most everyone else, I pin it on our D and certainly not our “O.” There, besides less than desirable numbers out of PA (0 for 3 in 3’s) and a spotty effort out of MH (8 pts. / 6 turnovers), we had (A) a season high performance by JC (10 pts on 3 for 4 shooting including two 3’s, 7 assists, and no turnovers in 36 minutes; (B) ball movement/superior shot selection (22 assists on 28 made field goals) that yielded FG%s of .571 (1st half) and .458 (2nd half), (C) the magic of KR with 9 assists, 2 turnovers, and 15 points in a gurgling 38 minutes of play, and (D) solid numbers out of TK.
Following the game up at Army, Coach Reed was quoted as saying, “Defense travels” as one of the reasons for our road win. Well, last night – playing over the Mountain at Stabler – the D didn’t have far to go. Instead, it took the night off and was a complete no-show in the second half. There are plenty of theories out there, I’m sure. But, one that I subscribe to, have voiced it before, and fear it could be our undoing this year is “manpower.” Good “D” takes, in my way of thinking, more energy than good “O.” Simply fresh legs and/or stamina. We had it for the first 20 minutes and gradually lost it over the last 20. We allowed 6 more made field goals in the second half than what were made in the first half with many coming from long range. It was our undoing and can be seen in Loyola’s accuracy numbers of 59.3% in H2 vs. 40.0% in H1 . To make matters worse, nearly half their hits came from long range. I don’t think we’ll survive a long season having to play, as we did last night, 4 men – giving each 33+ minutes – and get so little production out of our subs. And, last night – due to KL’s illness – that equated to three men compiling 9 points in 32 minutes. Compare that to Loyola’s bench production last night of 22 points by 6 men over 64 minutes of playing time. I don’t know about you, but I’m getting tired of seeing more guys on our bench dressed in blue blazers and business suits than uniforms. Sorry for the long rant.