TMH, in response to your earlier question after my first postgame post, from my car, I was at the game. Then, I rewatched the game yesterday and bits and pieces of it today that I had taped and my opinion did not change one bit. I thought the defense was lousy yesterday. If you pride yourself on being a team that gets after it, in man to man defense, like Lehigh does, nothing I saw made me happy yesterday. (They gave up 80+ points) If you play man to man defense, you have a responsibility to keep you eye on your man and an eye on the ball, triangle if you will, man/ball/basket. If you get caught watching the ball, you will get beat on backdoor cuts. If you get caught watching your man, you are not in a position to help on penetration from a player you are not guarding. I thought live and on tape that Lehigh got caught in both scenarios repeatedly yesterday. They, no doubt, tried hard and competed, but they just didn’t play good, smart, fundamental man to man defense. If the ball swings around the perimeter, which Lafayette, excels at, you have to move with the ball, and close out shooters. We repeatedly didn’t close out any shooters all day. Luckily, Lafayette, shot it poorly from the outside in the second half, which, sort of, kept us in the game. But, what really infuriated me was the wide open backdoor cuts, and the slow rotations to shooters. If you listen to the game announcers, the color guy, must have said 25 times, Lehigh failed to close on the shooter. Everything was late, late, late. I don’t have a problem if Johnson beats you off the dribble and gets into the paint, if you have some bigs to help, but guys would watch him with the ball and lose their man backdoor constantly. Or, a simple give and go type of cut, where Johnson passes to the wing then cuts directly to the basket, we got burned on a bunch as well.
I have hammered Reed repeatedly on his failure to mix and match his defensive sets. That is why O’Hanlon is a good game coach. He shows man, then he switches to a traditional zone, then he shows 1-3-1 zone trapping. He is constantly mixing up his defenses, and Reed is always trying to match personnel. O’Hanlon dictates and Reed responds. But, if you are going to live and die with man to man defense, you have to stop backdoor layups, and we did not yesterday. On offense, O’Hanlon also showed some variety, but all we ever show is the high pick and roll game, ad nauseum. And, yesterday, I thought we played way too much one on one basketball, especially when we got down. I agree with TMH wholeheartedly, that O’Hanlon took the air out of the ball way too early yesterday. It was a bit of a panic, play it safe move, and it almost cost them. If I was him, I would have just continued to run my basic sets, as Lehigh couldn’t really stop it. But Frannie O’Hanlon has been running the same offense since his days at Monsignor Bonner in Philly, when I was in high school, 25 years ago. By this point, you would think Reed would come up with something to stop it. Although he is blessed to have a PG like Johnson running it, who is a real maestro out there right now. He is such an efficient player, and such a good shooter, percentage wise.
On the MM charge/block call, I thought it was a bad call live. But, after watching on tape, I think it was a pretty good call. The defensive player had pretty good position.
I think Lafayette beats Bucknell on Wednesday. Johnson is going to have his way. If Trist can slow down Muscala, somewhat, I think Lafayette wins. Trist is an underrated player, and a bit of a bull inside for his size. He has a nice array of post moves, although it is going to be tough to take it at a bigger Muscala, who is a good shot blocker in this conference. I am interested to see how O’Hanlon is going to play on the defensive end. Does he pack it in around Muscala early in a 2-3, and feel out the perimeter game of Bucknell? Or, does he think that Bucknell can’t beat them with PG penetration, so he just plays man straight up on the perimeter, then doubles the post, when Muscala touches. Interesting chess match. I would make Ayers and Johnson beat me from the perimeter.