February 25, 2013 at 6:00 pm #9584
I respect and value the options of Lehigh90 and concede his knowledge of the game is far, far superior to anything I may from time to time bring to the table, but I’m having trouble saying our season is over. Maybe it’s the ‘fan’ in me, but until the final shot goes down on March 13th count me as a “believer.”
For all of our coaching blunders, missed steps, missed defensive assignments and missed opportunities yesterday, and there were many as documented by Lehigh90, LU was (a) in the game (6 ties and 5 lead changes), (b) led at the half, and (c) actually hit for a slightly higher FG% than did Lafayette (.527 to .519). We just ran into a buzz saw named Tony Johnson who went off on this 3’s (5 for 5), didn’t miss a FT (4 for 4) and was 10 of 12 overall from the field. He’s good – very good – but, as even he will tell ya, not that productive every time out. For instance, he went a combined 1 for 5 from three in his prior two games vs. BU and HC.
While we are going in the wrong direction, when compared to our nearest rivals heading into the last week of the season (see below), I give us a chance to win the final two (certainly the next vs. Navy) and then the first when Playoffs begin at home on March 9th. Do that and we’re in the semi’s on March 9th. Still time to right the ship, I say.
As for turning this thing around, now that (a) GK seems to have found himself (18 for 34 from inside the arc over the last three with no misguided attempts from deep yesterday) and (b) his roommate, HG, is contributing (23 for 31 in his last three) as if this were his last chance at glory – which it is – let’s hope Coach Reed and staff do what they can to immediately correct our most glaring deficiency of late, i.e., play from beyond the arc (see below). Couple that with the return of a healthy (he’s not now) BJ who carried us into the playoffs last year with his strong “D” and accurate shooting (9 for 13 shooting in the final three) and I say, while we may be on life support, our season is by no means over.
Last three PL games
3’s on Offense = 13 for 48 or .271
3’s on Defense = 31 for 55 or .564
Prior thee PL games to the ones referenced above
3’s on Offense = 23 for 57 or .464
3’s on Defense = 18 for 71 or .254February 25, 2013 at 6:57 pm #9585
Great recap ’90 but I have to side with ’65 that this team has shown enough heroics to think a final two game sweep and at least one conference tournament win is possible.
We finally have HG and GK clicking on all cylinders (except foul shooting). My biggest frustration is our supposed dead-eye shooters – AD and SC – are not contributing. Also, it is clear our perimeter defense was not up to par – ’90 explanation sounds plausible. We need to get the D figured out.
My early teenage son observed that A) BJ needs to be more “selfish” on offense and B) Gabe, who was being triple-teamed in post, needs to kick to a spot-up 3point shooter (preferably BJ or MM). I would add that BJ seemed to be playing at about 75% of his usual energy level. I don’t know if his problem is physical or mental. I agree that he is not even close to reaching his full basketball potential.
The upshot of this weekend’s Morning Call article about BJ seemed to be that, while he has one more year of basketball eligibility left, he is going to graduate this Spring and forgo another year of hoops. That seems a shame ..February 25, 2013 at 10:11 pm #9588
Guys I hope I’m wrong, as I would like nothing more than to be at Kirby and at Sojka to win semi and final, then at NCAA first round game. Nothing better than watching your team win in a hostile away gym. But, I just don’t see it. We are playing our worst basketball at the worst time. Leopards, clearly, playing their best. We will win the 3 vs 6 at Stabler, but we are underdog in semis at Lafayette considering they have beaten us twice and once in a non-competitive game. If we get to Sojka, we are underdogs there as well, although we have played lights out there last 3 games. Maybe we could knock off Leopards and get a Bucknell upset and host a PL final. Like I said I hope I’m wrong, but I don’t see it this year. I thought we would see CJ again after VCU, but no way that’s happening now.February 25, 2013 at 10:34 pm #9589
I think another point here is that any team that relies heavily on the 3 pt shot is going to be streaky, like Lafayette for the past 10 years. 2/3 of the way through the season when Lehigh was leading the country in 3 pt %, I don’t think anyone took that to mean that this was the single best perimeter shooting team in the entire country. Those numbers were bound to even out somewhat, as was our 3 pt % defense. In the world of advanced metrics, having those two numbers where they were the majority of the season would constitute a lot of “luck.”
However, the good thing is, the team has the CAPABILITY of shooting like that. And in the PL, there is no reason we can’t get hot again and make a run for the championship. It’s also possible we don’t get it back, and finish the season out on a 6 game losing streak. With CJ, we had a guy who could get to the rim and foul line virtually at will, but without that we are a team very similar to the majority of Patriot League teams. Get hot from 3 and you are hard to beat, go cold and you are meat.
I do wish the Reed had put someone else on Johnson besides Mackey (maybe he didn’t because only BJ would be up to the task and he was injured). It is a lot to ask Mackey to be a major part of the offense and push the ball on every possession, and then faceguard Johnson on the other end. Darn near impossible. Would have liked to see BJ on him the majority of the game.
The offensive rebounds given up in the game ending run were brutal to watch. Those situations invariably lead to scrambles and shooters being left open, and unfortuantely Johnson was just not going to miss an open 3 yesterday.
Stefan had a wide open look in the first 4 minutes yesterday, and was about 18 inches short, not even close. Didn’t get another attempt after that I believe. If he is your #1 shooter, he has to knock that down.
HG, GK, and MM played well.
JG’s missed dunk was ugly, but even worse was when HG threw him the ball on a post iso. You could see a turnover coming from where I was watching in NYC. I love the kid’s potential, but he should not receive the ball in an iso post situation the rest of the year.February 26, 2013 at 4:13 am #9598
On SC, my son and I were watching him for a full hour leading up to tip. I was telling my son to watch him shoot the jump shot as it is so pure and nice to look at his release and the rotation in the air. So, we focused on him for quite awhile. He made literally 90 out of 100 3’s prior to the game, going on streaks were he would hit 15 to 20 in a row. Kid can really shoot it. Of course, those are open, uncontested looks with no pressure. Even while being heckled by Lafayette students on every shot, he was knocking down 15 in a row. But, come game time, non-factor. I hope he can be a bigger factor in last 2 seasons as kid has a beautiful jump shot.February 26, 2013 at 6:24 pm #9600
The last couple games have really disclosed how lacking we are without CJ. No one to step up and make the ‘three’ that could be a stake in the heart. When LU up by ten I was looking for just that and there was nothing. The leadership issue is of a concern, too, in light of the necessary discipline. Johnson played ‘one of those games’ that leaders do when everything is on the line. Knutson played hard and took it to the hoop. Had he played like that against Bucknell, different story. I will be shocked if we see CJ in a Lehigh uniform again….playing. Announcers said he has been ‘shooting’ to keep his touch, but still doing water therapy. I can’t see him risking his NBA potential and coming back. IF there was seen to be a real shot of winning the tournament and going into the NCAA’s, then a longshot, but I would never bet the ranch let alone a few buck on that.February 26, 2013 at 8:57 pm #9604
The closest thing we have to CJ is BJ. After a slow start this year, he began to turn it on averaging 10ppg and 4rpg over a 4-game stretch from Jan. 27th thru Feb. 9th. He was looking like the BJ of old. He then missed the AU and CU games for “personal reasons” and, what was obvious to many, a sore ankle. It has had an impact on his game over the past two. Still, he gutted-out 35 and 24 minutes in those contests. What’s missing, however, was his inclination to take it to the hoop and willingness to let the shot fly when seemingly open. Too generous and not selfish enough, if you know what I mean. I can only hope his ankle and whatever else is bothering him mends quickly. He is after all our top 3-point shooter (.472) not named CJ (.516) and a vital cog in the LU machine.February 27, 2013 at 1:41 am #9607
Of all my concerns the biggest I have is conditioning. I can maybe understand the iron against Bucknell with their tough D and the number of games they had played. Watching them peak and run out of gas against Lafayette after a six day layoff is quite different.
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