Game 26: Lafayette

Forum Forum Lehigh Sports Lehigh Men’s Basketball Game 26: Lafayette

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    Game Notes

    Expect publication on Friday

    KenPomeroy Rankings and Chance of Winning
    LU (18-7, 8-3) 86th
    LC (13-14, 6-4) 197th
    LU wins 71-67 (66% chance)

    Other PL Games
    BU over HC 67-52 (93% chance)
    Army over AU 66-65 (53% chance)
    CU over Navy 64-57 (79% chance)

    Good News!

    We’re guaranteed to finish no worse than 4th in the regular season and will, therefore, host a Round One game at Stabler on Wednesday, March 6th. But, exactly where will we finish? Well……….

    A. We could finish 1st, claim the Regular Season League Championship and gain no worse than an invite to the NIT should we win out and both (1) and (2) below happen.
    1. BU loses to AU next Wednesday
    2. AU finishes ahead of CU in the final standings.


    B. We could finish 2nd were we and BU to win out.


    C. Finish 3rd or 4th under far too many scenarios to lay out here.

    However, this Sunday’s game against Lafayette extremely important. Were to lose it, our records would match at 8-4 and give the Leopards a tie-breaking advantage should we finish season play with identical marks. Our hopes of finishing ahead of LC would take a big hit, as we must face an Army team that is coming on strong while LC finishes @ CU and is at home to AU (see schedule below). A 3rd or 4th place finish would undoubtedly be our fate. And, there’s much to be said about the advantage of finishing 3rd over 4th, based upon the Playoff bracket structure of either (1 vs. 8, 4 vs. 5) or (2 vs. 7, 3 vs. 6).

    Your Guide to the Final 3

    Team / Record / Final 3 Games / Present Streak

    BU / 9-2 / HC, AU, @N / 1 win
    LU / 8-3 / @LC, N, A / 2 losses
    LC / 7-4 / LU, @CU, AU / 2 wins
    A / 6-5 / @AU, HC, @LU / 3 wins
    AU / 5-6 / A, @BU, @LC / 1 loss
    CU / 4-7 / N, LC, @HC / 1 loss
    HC / 3-8 / @BU, @A, CU / 2 losses
    N / 2-9 / @CU, @LU, BU / 1 win

    Based upon the upcoming opponents’ prior 3-game records, AU would seem to have the toughest road ahead, facing teams with a combined 7-2 mark. LU and HC are not far behind facing teams with a combined 6-3 record. The final week of the season should be a lot of fun!

    The “3” Report

    Lehigh lives and dies with the “3.” Going 1 for 15 in a game we lost by 6 to Bucknell and going 3 for 18 in a game we lost by 4 to Colgate says it all. That’s 4 made “3’s” in 80 minutes of basketball. Meanwhile, we were 44 of 89 (.494 – not great by not bad) from inside the arc during those two loses. No better example of questionable shot selection than GK (worse 3-point shooter on the team) putting up 5 in those two loses. He failed to connect once.

    Team Total (all games) 199 of 296 = .401 (7th best in all of D-I. Indiana #1 @ .428)

    Team Total (PL games) 76 of 210 = .362 (3rd best in PL behind Army and Holy Cross)

    CJ 33 of 64 = .516


    Quote:  “No better example of questionable shot selection than GK (worse 3-point shooter on the team) putting up 5 in those two loses. He failed to connect once.”

    Knutson attempted 17 threes in his first three years combined (7-17).    Thus far he has attempted 40 threes this year (13-40).     Any specific reason why he’s shooting so many more threes?    Over the very small sample size, he is 20-57 overall (35%) – not great but not terrible.


    I don’t think it is anything more than Gabe expanding his game in the offseason, feeling confident, and letting them fly.

    I know some posters here are really against Gabe shooting so many jumpers and threes, but I think that especially with CJ out, he is having a harder time getting the ball on the block and is resorting to trying to effect the offense however he can.  As you mentioned, his % isn’t awful, especially for a big guy.  Who knows, maybe he gets hot in the last week and finishes the year above 40%, which in my book gives him a lot of freedom to keep shooting.  Lastly, no one has made anything for Lehigh from 3 over the last week, so I don’t think it is fair to single out Gabe more than the rest of the squad.



    There have been times when Gabe has shot the 3 very well.  The most recent example is the American game where he hit his first 4 and finished 4-5.
    But, that has turned into “fools gold” as recent futility (0-5 in last two games, both losses) shows.
    At this point his free throw and even two point shooting is not much better.  He seems to be somewhat spooked.  A few really ugly misses in the Bucknell game ..


    I was suprised Coach Reed did not come out with three forwards in the Bucknell game. I think if Gabe were playing along side Goldy and Holden, he would be harder to defend in the post.  Also, I’d like to see him kick it out to a three point shooter from the post a bit more often ..



    I’ve gotten to know Gabe a bit over the course of the last four years and there’s not one think I don’t like about this scholar athlete. His 3-point shooting is, however, at the bottom of my list. To my way of thinking (a) it’s not his game, (b) he’s not particularly good at it, and (c) it’s “all or nothing” in terms of his per game point production via the 3-ball. I’m also against having our 6’9″ center 21+ feet away from the basket when the ball takes flight. We already have enough trouble gathering rebounds off the offensive glass. Anyway, here are his numbers.

    Career Game Played: 118

    Game in which he attempted one or more 3 Pt. Shots: 32 or 27% of the time

    Games in which he came up empty on his 3-point tries: 19 or 59% of the time

    Feast of fathom: 10 of Gabe’s 18 made threes this year came in 3 games

    His 3FG% averages:
    Career: .351
    This Season: .325

    Bottom line, I’d rather have any one of these guys (this season’s 3-pt. average shown), whose game it is to shoot the “3,” take the long-range shot:

    BJ: .471
    AD: .394
    CS: .371
    SC: .364
    MM: .345



    BJ is my pick for the three. He gets hot and it’s on. He looked really good last year when Adams and him tagged team on defense and the three ball. My vote goes to him.



    Playoff scenarios are easy from LU perspective.

    LU wins Sunday and beats Navy they are no worse than the 2 seed.

    LU loses Sunday and beats Navy they are no worse than the 3 seed.

    The reason is Army was swept by Bucknell and Lehigh went 1-1 against them.

    Beating Leopards gives LU 2-game advantage over Leopards and LU owns next tiebreaker (record vs. Army).


    Will there be tickets available at the door for the Lafayette game?



    Army dispatches AU this afternoon 72-58. That’s now 4 W’s in a row………9 & 5 record possible. That’s the one team, knowing our past track record and their improving level of play this year, that I don’t want to face in the Playoffs sooner than absolutely necessary.





    I have to second that. For three years in a row, they had LU’s number.



    Yeah Army scares me, they had Z and Hall’s number for a while there it seemed. Big game today, would love a nice W to get back some momentum here. I think we’ll play well and hopefully BJ after being off for almost a week now is less hobbled/better rested.


    Lord, well if we keep playing like this I hope we get 20 wins.
    Not going to get much else.

    Just looking at stats. Another with 3pt shots 4-15 compounded w abysmal Perimeter D. Maybe they are just worn out.



    Man that second half was tough to watch, I’m going to see Mackey going underneath the ball screen in my nightmares tonight, kept going under on the screen and Tony J kept stroking the 3 balls man….tough to watch, and didn’t get corrected. Johnson cooked us man. To Rich’s point maybe our guys are just worn out, although having not played since Monday we should have been so well rested, but perhaps there is something there after a long grind of a year down a few bodies…we’re still getting nothing from the bench, CS and SC didn’t do much tonight, AD was quiet, so it was all on HG GK and MM. Got to do whatever the heck possible to avoid 4 seed, don’t want to see BU in semifinals if we get there, so we got to hold on to the 3 spot at all costs.

    Seeing CJ on crutches was rough to see, I had hoped he’d be off by now, but per twitter seems he has Dr. appointment tomorrow, and boy do we need him to come back with a black cape and carry this team in the month of March.




    Will CJ even help? This team has simply forgotten how to win. Period.



    I was in Kirby yesterday, and it took me awhile to digest that loss, but here are my thoughts…

    1) Tony Johnson played the best game I have ever seen a college PG play.  He was unreal.  Hit tough shots, controlled the game on every offensive possession, passed the well pinpoint to his teammates, and just got his shot at the rim or from deep whenever he wanted.  It was an unbelievable performance.  He is so far and above the other PGs in the league.  I think his general problem is he is too unselfish, but yesterday he was not, and it was a pleasure to watch, even on the losing end.  Even though HG was amazing in his own right (more on that later), Johnson was even better.

    2) Great college atmosphere in Kirby yesterday.  A lot of Lafayette students, and a nice Lehigh turnout, so it was a great setting.  Even a crappy borderline high school gym like Kirby blows away Stabler for a fan experience.

    3) I cannot criticize GK for his play yesterday.  He was efficient in the low post, and very active on the defensive board.  But, I think we struggle when we overemphasize getting the ball into Gabe on the box.  The strength of this team is run and gun, shoot the 3, and always feeding the low block slows us down and makes us very predictable.  Earlier in the season, after CJ injury, I agreed with those on the board who said every offensive possession should run through Gabe.  But, I am starting to second guess that strategy.  He needs to kick the ball out to shooters for open 3’s, but he rarely does and often takes on 2 big players for tough shots, rather than kick out the ball.  That leads me to my next 2 points …

    4) At this point, the offense needs to run through HG on most possessions.  First, he is a mismatch all of the time when he posts up.  He is usually guarded by smaller player and can feast in the post.  Second, he is effective from long range against smaller players, and has an ultra quick first step to blow by slower defenders.  His versatility should be our Number 1 offensive weapon.  He was dynamic yesterday and really did it all, 3 ball, post, slash, dunk, alley oop, great game.

    5) Reed was badly outcoached yesterday.  When the game went South in the final 7 minutes, he had no response to O’Hanlon.  All he ran was the exact same “Triangle” play on every possession.  Gabe sets a screen at high post, MM comes off to basket, or finds Gabe who rolls or posts after roll.  It was so predictable that Lafayette was even calling it out, with the same triangle sign.  Nothing else, the entire end of the game.  I also thought he was slow to adjust to Lafayette’s zone, that they opened with in the second half.  First 2-3 possessions, put HG at the high post, with GK at the low post, and got nothing.  As soon as you see zone, you need to go to SC, immediately.  He is the zone buster on this team, certainly not AD, who’s jump shoot is pretty poor (his form is bad, as he sort of hangs in the air, then shoots as he is coming down from his jump).  Hard to be consistent shooter with that hitch.  By the time he got SC to the scorer’s table, about 3 possessions too late, he got lucky in that HG bailed him out by moving to the wing on 2 straight possessions and hitting 3’s.  Then Lafayette went back to man, and we put SC into the game, and he was ineffective against their man.  O’Hanlon spread the floor late, let Johnson create off the dribble, get into the paint, and either finish at the rim, or pass to back door baseline cutters.  We had no defensive answer for that all day.  The only move Reed made was to put Bailey on Johnson, but that was no answer. 

    6) Poor choice by 3 “leaders” on this squad to get disciplined in a huge game.  BJB, AD and MM all must have been in hot water (in the stands we had no idea), but terrible spot to let your teammates down.  Luckily, the 3 starters installed, SC, CS and JG starter strong, and even led, I believe, when the regular starters got in half way through first half.  But, I still think that had some impact on the game.  Johnson got to start the game with CS guarding him, which is a horrible matchup for Lehigh.  CS has no quickness to stay with Johnson, and Johnson got off early, and it just continued all day.

    7) We defended the pick and roll terribly all day.  Usually we play that with the big man showing to stop the penetration around the pick, but for some reason yesterday, we never showed and instead switched all day.  So, Lafayette got mismatches with a big on Johnson, or a PG on Geise or Trist on the low block.  Terrible choice to play it that way, and it killed us all day.  Only MM showed any ability to fight over the pick.  Officials did a poor job of calling that all day, as Lafayette set moving screen after moving screen and half of them were full on body blocks.  But, we should have done better defending that.

    8) That leads me to the future after Lafayette, and my conclusion is that Lehigh is done for this season.  And, the CJ era has come to an end at Lehigh.  I can’t see us beating Lafayette in the semis at their place, or Bucknell in the finals at their place, let alone, both, back to back.  To me, Johnson, may win the PL title for Lafayette by himself if he replicates his play yesterday.  And, Bucknell, will have no answer for him as their PG spot is a mess.  That is a huge advantage for Lafayette, huge.  So, I think Lafayette wins PL.  But, either way, I see no way Lehigh wins it this year.  Our only hope to win it is a CJ return.  The fact that it is late February and he is still non-weight bearing is telling.  I had hoped to see him in a walking boot by now, but still on crutches, still non-weight bearing and the first PL Tourney game is 9 days away.  No way he suits up again in Lehigh brown and white.  A decision has been made to save him for the NBA, and I understand, although disappointed.  We were all hoping for a Superman return, but highly unlikely at this point.  So, yesterday was the end of the season and end of an era.


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