November 15, 2014 at 5:25 am #16687
Hated to lose this one, but we lost focus down the stretch. Moral victories don’t pay the bills, but this was a great opening game to watch in a tremendous venue. Reminded me a bit of the St. Johns game we let get away three years ago. Could’, shoulda’, woulda’. Pressure with KR out of the game rattled us down the stretch, as well as poor free throw shooting. In general though, much more aggressive than last year on the boards and to the basket. For sure things: KR is the real deal, TK and the team wanted this game badly, and marked improvement across the board. After tonight I’m very optimistic about the season.November 15, 2014 at 5:31 am #16688
23 TOs,too many unforced. Youth. Very impressed with talent and depth. KR is indeed. Impressed with all who played,all contributed. Kinda nice to see Carter out there. JG tough inside. JC and TK ,too many dumb fouls but both played well.In fact ,PL did well tonite.If we keep building we will be at the top.November 15, 2014 at 5:33 am #16689
Just got home from PPL and wanted to post before bed. Nice arena, by the way, although crowd disappointing.
First off, I am terribly disappointed, as that was a winnable game. Villanova did not dominate us at all, and didn’t overwhelm us with athleticism. They shot it horribly most of the game, and with a little better play down the stretch, that could have been a final possession game. 48-48 with, I believe, 11 to play, and we actually led 48-43, causing Jay Wright to call a timeout earlier in the second half. We lost the game due to one reason, Villanova’s press, and our inability to break it down. It was an interesting press, not really a hard on the ball press, but passive pressure, then the ability to trap at center court and on the sidelines. We were dismal all night against it. Two things stuck out to me about it. First, KR getting in early foul trouble (3rd foul in first half on a beautiful floater but offensive foul, although basket counted, then picked up a horrible 4th on a reach 40 feet from the basket early in the second). With KR on the floor, he could break the pressure. With MS at the point, it was turnover city. Nova has a lot of length to press with in Hilliard, and others, longer guys with long arms who got a lot of deflections. What really angered me all night was how Lehigh attacked the press. Reed was horrible in this respect, made no adjustments, and it cost us the game. Anybody who knows basketball, knows that against that type of pressure, you have to get the ball into the middle of the floor. For some reason, we had a little guy usually CS in the middle of the floor, where he was no factor to catch. KR, MS and AP would get caught in the backcourt with no outlet, and turn the ball over. Must have happened 15 times, with 10 of those leading to layups. I would have attacked it by putting a big (TK) at mid court, to give the little guys an outlet in the middle of the court. Then on to the wing guys for a 2 on 1. Reed tried to do that with a smaller player and he was no outlet at all. Too small to be a factor and we never got the ball to the middle. Not once in the game, did we break the pressure, get the ball in the middle of the floor and go in 3 on 1 or 3 on 2 for a layup. And, Villanova saw blood in the water early and killed us with it. That was the ball game.
On the good side of things:
AP – played amazing game. I was on him as a one dimensional shooter with no ability to slash, drive and finish. Boy was I wrong. He took it to the rack repeatedly and finished among bigs with both hands several times. Impressive all around, and knocked down a number of jumpers. Kid was fantastic.
KR – loved what I saw of him, although limited by foul trouble. Super quick jets, with great handle and can flat out dish and pass the rock. Jumper needs work and he needs to play bigger minutes, but this kid is going to be a star.
TK – also played a great game. Much bigger body than last year, he has filled out or hit the weights or both. Nice post moves all night, hit some jumpers, and rebounded hard by himself at times. Played really hard, diving on the floor a number of times, and firing up his teammates. Loved his game. Will dominate in PL this year.
And, the bad:
MS – Struggled mightily against pressure. Did knock down a jumper, but really hurt them.
BA – Limited second half minutes, but in a critical point in the game. Looked very tentative, and unsure. Does not look like a premium athlete. Picked up a foul in first 10 seconds on the floor.
JC – Mostly invisible. When game got tight resorted to taking a couple ill advised 3’s. Did defend post pretty well and block a shot or two, but did not look like he has made large strides.
CS – Not to really criticize him, but he did not impact game too much. In fairness to him, he did not see much time on the ball, particularly against the pressure. Did make a couple of shots, but not his best game.
DC – Shockingly was first wing off bench, and did not impress. I did like his on the ball defense but nothing on the offensive end.
JRG – No minutes, bad sign.
KM – No minutes, bad sign.
TJ – No minutes, bad sign.
SC – Never got in any groove, took a few 3’s hit nothing, no impact. He looks to have dropped in the pecking order.
CB – Don’t recall him playing.
JG – Limited production and minutes
CR – Did get in game very late, to foul only. Incomplete.
But, frustrated as that could have been a big win for program and this group. Last few thoughts. We should have led by about 10 at the half. Nova couldn’t throw it in the ocean in the first, and Hilliard was dreadful. I think maybe 1-10 in the first half. Last two good things. Reed has really upgraded the roster over the last few classes with better athletes. We looked no less athletic than the number 12 team in the nation. (Nova is a very soft top 15 team, IMO) Finally, this team should win the PL.November 15, 2014 at 5:40 am #16690
Forgot one last thing. I leave KR on the floor at the 10 minute mark when he picks up his 4th. You needed him on the floor. I would like to see the point differential with him on and off the floor. I think he would be on the positive side. I would have rolled the dice, and let him play. If he fouls out, back to MS, who had already played big minutes in the first half. Reed never gambles in spots like this and you have to gamble as an underdog against a Top 20 team. For me, this was reminiscent off benching CJ vs Xavier with 2 first half fouls. Can’t win big games coaching scared.November 15, 2014 at 5:56 am #16691
I agree with most everything you say 90, although I thought JG played better than your critique. I did feel the same about winning the PL, and maybe still do. But did you see the other PL scores from tonight? Army and Bucknell won . Lafayette pretty much blew out Robert Morris. Navy drove Izo nuts tonight. And American almost beat Temple. ‘Pards at West Virginia Sunday should be very interesting. Not that I’m rooting for them, but this is going to be a much improved and very competitive Patriot league.November 15, 2014 at 12:27 pm #16692
I agree with most comments above. KR is for real loved his gave, some “Freshman” mistakes but great court vision and passing. He will be fun to watch.
Two things I did not see mentioned. Missed FTs and giving up offensive rebounds after Nova missed them. The first is not excuseable. The latter was a lot of tip outs by taller guys, tougher box outs should have drawn over the back calls, but Nova had muscle with the height so easier said than done. If the same thing happens in league games I would be more bothered.
I thought JG played fine and was surprised he got no minutes in the second half.
AP played great and showed a lot of improvement and confidence, BUT to many turnovers and not just against the press.
TK is a great Patriot League player, but he is at LU because he lacks the athleticism against teams like Nova. Just like other like every other player that we get is missing something, except heart which all our guys showed last night.
Key moment, 58-54, AP steals ball from Hilliard, loses it, great hustle to steal it back, and then throws a bad cross court pass that turns into an “and 1”. We never recovered. That was not the reason we lost, but I think it illustrates why we could not get over the hump. When the pressure picked up we tried that little extra and Nova’s athleticism was just better.
Overall, I was very happy with the way we played but agree with the disappointment that this one got away. This is a young team and I am excited about the next few years.November 15, 2014 at 12:51 pm #16694
86, I disagree on TK. I think he’d be in the rotation on a number of teams in the Big East or A10. He was not the best big on the court last night, but he was more than competitive and obviously out numbered. Absolutely much stronger and more aggressive than last year, particularly on the boards.
I agree with your opinion on many of our better players over the years, particularly JC currently. Either a tad short, a step slow, or just not very athletic. After what I saw last night, AP may be an interesting one to discuss on this topic. He may suddenly emerge as a real problem for our Patriot League brethren if this keeps up. Lets see how he’s does Tuesday against a team similar to us in depth and alleged recruiting pedigree.November 15, 2014 at 4:53 pm #16695
I think Lehigh90s take on the game is pretty much spot on. I hate to take away too much from one game but here are some things that struck me.
KR may already be the best passer that I’ve seen at Lehigh. I believe he had 7 assists in 19 minutes and could have had more had his teammates finished the shot. Excellent court vision. He is going to make everyone better as he continues to progress.
CS was invisible and that puzzles me. KR has foul trouble early. We use a combination of MS and AP to bring the ball up with terrible results. CS is a sure ball handler, had a 2-1 assists to TO ration last year, and yet was not integral to the process. I was also disappointed that he didn’t take open 3s near the end of the game. But again, it’s just one game.
AP can flat out shoot and as noted, added an inside game, finishing strong several times. He made a lot of bad decisions though which really hurt from early shot selection to passing. 6 TOs to one assist. Again, next game he may reverse that.
TK has a significant skill set and works his butt off on the court. He will do very well in the PL but I still think lacks the elite athleticism YET.
We still don’t rebound the ball well. I saw very little boxing out, jumping, grabbing the ball with tenacity. Villanova was not that much bigger than us and yet had 19 Offensive RBs. That may have been the difference in the game. I still think we desperately need a big man coach. Just my humble opinion.
Interestingly, Lehigh gave Villanova fits for most of the game last night. Navy lost to #18 Michigan St by 5. American finished within 3 of Temple. Army, Lafayette, Bucknell all won. This league is showing signs of getting tougher.November 15, 2014 at 5:56 pm #16696
I disagree on TK. I think he starts on a lot of big conference teams. Not many 5’s as polished in the post at 6’10” as him. He starts on Villanova for sure. Far better player than Ochefu.
also, foul shooting was terrible.November 15, 2014 at 6:39 pm #16697
Sorry to clog this thread up with my thoughts, but last night got me really pumped for the year after just 5 minutes. And it was all about this tiny little #1 zippin’ around through the trees. Is he really 5’11”? Probably just how big the opposition was, but he looked a lot smaller than Mackey..November 16, 2014 at 2:19 am #16702
I was not in the arena, so I’m curious about your comment about the ‘disappointing’ crowd. It was reported to be sold out, so where is the disappointment. Keep in mind, Villanova was the home team, so the number of available seats viz Lehigh may have been dictated by that, if that was what you meant. Just curious as to the comment.November 16, 2014 at 3:06 am #16705
We were downstairs in section 111, endzone slightly behind and to the left side of one basket. The lower level seats were about 90% full, with patches of empty seats mostly in the prime middle areas. As this game was included in Nova season package I’m assuming the no-shows were their fans who didn’t make the trek to see a the “home opener” all the way up in Allentown. The ends lower level were full with a ton of Hilliard fans. Top level was absolutely packed. The atmosphere was not electric for much of the crowd the first two thirds of the game mainly because we were winning. I suspect the Nova majority was having an extended WTF moment. But for the much smaller Lehigh crowd and the Mountain Hawk band it was super charged. Local published attendance 8,500+.
Food joints made a killing. We intended to eat downtown pregame and got there 6:30. All food places were 1-1/2 to 2 hour wait, so we ate after the game.November 16, 2014 at 3:31 am #16706
I’ll have more to say tomorrow; pretty wiped out from a very busy weekend and a ridiculous amount of driving. I agree that the arena is a nice place, but also agree about the atmosphere. I felt like I saw a LOT of Lehigh folks in the arena – lots of LU gear out at the food vendors, etc. What bothered me was that there was no discernible Lehigh section, other than the student section behind the basket. I’m wondering if the LU’s allocation was scattered all over the arena; that’s how it felt, anyway. If that was done intentionally by nova, it worked. I think a team can pick up energy from their crowd, and the crowd can pick it up from each other. I wasn’t thrilled with my original ticket, so in 2nd half I moved around downstairs a bit. And I struggled to find an LU section making some noise. I really enjoyed the game anyway, and glad I went.
I got behind on my schedule on Friday, and got jammed up in some traffic around Philly – got there too late to catch up with my board-mates; around 7:45. Next time, I hope!November 16, 2014 at 4:07 pm #16711
Hey Todd, I know what you mean. I, too, just returned home from a sports weekend (Villanova on Friday and Colgate on Saturday) in the Valley. It was great fun but exhausting. Your points are well taken. I was take-back by the beauty of the arena, ease of parking, etc. etc. but less than impressed with the size and noise attributable to the small pockets of LU faithful. I’m actually anxious to get back to the cozy confines of Stabler on Tuesday where the fans in Section 3 and 4 (albeit small but vocal pockets of energy) can be heard as they get behind their guys. I guess the price tag for this game alone was steep and may have driven some to stay to away and take it in on Fox Sports 2. Like others I spoke to, I found it hard to sit through a transplanted Villanova “home” game. Our students were seated on the floor (not elevated) and not able to stand without obstructing the views of other paying fans) far behind the basket adjacent to our bench. For the most part they were silent or what noise they did make was swamped by the Wildcat crowd. Even our cheerleaders were passive until early in the 2nd half. It was almost as if they were on orders from the “home-standing” Villanova officials to sit – and not stand – until it was their time to cheer. Sit hey did until sometime early in the 2nd half. I was caught off-guard, too , by the billowing voice of the Villanova announcer and their marketing crew that presided over the customary fan events during timeouts. Like I say, I should have known this was really a Villanova home game – although pitched as a neutral site event. The PPL Center was, however, a site to behold. Yet, hey guys…….. how about a scoreboard that portrays the names of the players on the court at the time and their individual/running stats? All we got from the overhanging center-court jumbotron was the score of the game and, of course, a big blue “V” for Villanova. While, as someone said, there were open seats, I do believe – as announced – this was a sellout at 8,751+ with many choosing to stay at home.
I can’t argue with 90% of what has been said to date about the game. Great analyses, guys on the Board. I can only add emphasis by pointing out some of the numbers – always a favorite thing of of mine to do. So, here goes…………
Can’t recall a team, no less Lehigh, making more FGs (28 to be exact) than their opponent and losing the game. Or, for that matter, finding the net 54.9% of the time and still coming up short in the end.
Obscene offensive rebounding. How can TK walk away with none in 34 minutes of play? And, JC and JG combined for just 2 in a combined 41 minutes on the court. Four offensive boards all game long! And, one of those was credited to our point guard, KR. Last year we managed a meager 8.75 OR/game (280 in 32 games). Sadly, we’re off to a sad start with four our first game leading to 21 second chance points raked up by the Wildcats.
KR is, as everyone seems to be saying, the real deal. 7 Assists / 1 Turnover in 18 minutes! Can you imagine what he might do in 30 minutes against a far lesser opponent than Villanova?
JG, with 4 boards and 1 block together with his high energy play, needed to be on the court for more than 15 minutes. Project those numbers.
Said before but needs to be emphasized……… CS could have/should have been employed at the point when KR took a seat due to foul trouble. Yes, MS is our backup PG and will no doubt excel in those efforts, but proved a bit unsteady and unsure of himself on Friday. Just saying….Corey might not have given up the rock so much in those pressure situations. While still on CS (2 for 3 with 1 for 1 from deep), how about finding him for more than 3 attempts in 31 minutes?!
Much talked about was BA’s expected early appearance of the bench. Well it finally game – after long-forgotten Devon Carter got his chance. And, when BA stepped onto the court, he was lost and bewildered. A line score of 1 personal foul and a bunch of zeros in 5 minutes tells it all. Hope we can chalk it up to opening night nerves and nothing else. Will be anxious to watch what happens on Tuesday.
The wonders of AP. Can’t help but love his 24 points but they came along 6 turnovers and an “0 for 2” from the free throw line. Glad we fed the hot hands on Friday (AP: 10 for 17 and TK: 6 for 13) but in the case of AP must warn of his swings in productivity. It’s not uncommon to see him follow a string of blockbuster outings with a 1 for 4, 1 for 3 or go 0 for 6 as he did against Navy last year. Here’s hoping for a more consistent AP this year.
Tough to watch sloppy play – trapped along sidelines, etc. – and see the opponent walk away with 31 points off our turnovers! Imagine what might have been with smarter down the middle play.
And, finally………how about the easiest shot in basketball, the free throw. Not only did we not get to the line (10 attempts in 40 minutes) but we hit just 4. How can that be!? Meanwhile we awarded Villanova the chance to score 24 times. Of course, wouldn’t you know it, they hit on 15. Net affect: – 11 points.November 17, 2014 at 1:09 am #16718
I think that we should be cautious about getting to excited or to critical about performance on Friday. Nova was very flat in my opinion and shot horribly from the floor. Probably a direct impact of playing at an unfamiliar arena against an opponent they thought they could handle with ease. Nova did look out of shape and I think Lehigh looks to be improved physically. My opinions on the team:
KR – will be special if stays out of foul trouble and body holds up. Very, Very, Very small!
AP – Looks to have taken a big step forward but want to see it every night especially when teams game plan for him.
CS – Steady but needs to be more assertive on offensive end
TK – Looks great physically and can almost guarantee him will give LU 15/10 every night in PL if not in foul trouble.
JG – needs more minutes always productive
JC – Still not convinced he is a plus athlete and think he disappears for long stretches of games. Should be dominate in PL based on the eye test but IMHO JG much better fit with his skill set.
MS – Very athletic needs to take care of the ball.
Everyone else: not enough info yet.
Overall, I would think Coach Reed would be very pleased with performance and team can take some real positives from the game.
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