March 19, 2012 at 2:03 pm #5486
I wanted to wait until the end of the weekend to post. I think it all has just about sunk in by now. First off, on the Duke win, it was just incredible to be a part of that in Greensboro, something I will never forget, and probably the best win I have seen in any sport at any level, for me. Somebody said it was better than their team winning the World Series or Super Bowl, and I would have to agree. Rather than go into the game, just some of the things to remember. First, all of the great Lehigh alums that we all met, including LU06 and LU2007. Just a bunch of nice people, who really enjoyed themselves. Walking into the Coliseum, our small but spirited contingent, in our Lehigh brown and white and seeing all of the Carolina blue coming out, wishing us the best, and telling us to get it done. The pandemonium in the Lehigh section throughout the game. The quiet confidence that we had in the bar pre-game, those who post here thought it was a winnable game and it was. CJ’s performance. The dedication to the defensive end and the commitment to rebounding the basketball. Gabe was huge on all fronts. The shear joy in the final seconds. The Lehigh fans chanting postgame in the concourses of the arena, and the Carolina fans joining in and taking pictures. The team saluting the fans after the game, and the assistant coaches coming into the section after the game to celebrate. Mrs. Adams hugging anybody who would hug her and inviting anyone who didn’t have a room to stay in her suite until Sunday. Incoming frosh, Justin Goldsborough and his family high fiving everyone in sight, and the look in his eyes, that he could be a part of this next season. And, of course, the Carolina fans, who waved Go Lehigh signs all game and taunted the Duke fans. It was all great. The funny moment for me was pregame in the Will Call line. I, mistakenly got into players Will Call, rather than Institutional Will Call. A guy waiting at the Duke table saw my Lehigh shirt and said good luck. I instantly recognized him as it was Dell Curry, father of Seth. He asked me about Lehigh, and I told him he might be surprised at how tough they were going to play Duke, and I told him they would hang tough, had some talent, and a special player. He was pleasant, but you could tell he thought I was insane. I would have liked to see his face when CJ put 4 fouls on his son in about 15 minutes of playing time, and again while walking out of the arena. CJ took his son, and beat him like a drum.
I left Greensboro prior to the Xavier game, so will let 65, 06 and 07 fill us in on that. But, my thoughts on that game, are a bit more critical in the loss. First, I thought it was a winnable game before, during and after. Team, obviously, played a great first 15 or so minutes, before it all fell apart. Xavier did pick it up as the game went on, but I felt it was a game Lehigh lost, rather than a game Xavier won. I thought Reed did a nice job all weekend, with his calm demeanor and sagelike advice, but in my opinion, he made some big gaffs in this game.
1) When CJ got his second offensive foul, he should have left him in the game. He played too safe, played not to lose, instead of going for it, with your best horses in the game. CJ is talented enough to play with foul trouble. And, you were playing for Sweet 16 history, take all your best shots. By, putting him on the bench, he let Xavier back in the game, gave them the confidence in the second half, and never let CJ get enough offensive flow to his game. My opinion, that was the critical error. Instead of a potential 20 point lead at the half, we limped home in the first half, and it got so bad, Reed had to put him back in anyway. It was scared coaching. 3 fouls is automatic sit on the bench, but with 2, in a game like that, you have to let the Big Dog run.
2) Reed never had any plan or ideas to stop Frease. In my opinion, there was no way Gabe was ever going to contain him. Just not enough length or width. If they were going to play him straight up, Manieri was the better choice on the low block. He, at least, had the weight, to keep him from establishing position so easily and just backing in. I thought Reed needed to play our 2 big together for more minutes. When Manieri got on him late, due to Gabe’s foul trouble, he was far more effective. Second, if you wanted to let Gabe handle him one on one, then the double team had to be automatic with your guards. We didn’t do enough of that, and it killed us. And, third, and finally, on this one, this was the game when you needed to pack in a zone around their big man. We could have gone into a 2-3 and limited his touches on the low block. Or, if you were scared of their shooters, play Holloway and/or their other guard man in a box and one, or triangle and two. Something needed to be done, and we made no adjustments. Interestingly, in the Kansas/Purdue game, Bill Self went to a triangle and 2 in the second half and it won them the game.
3) We started fouling too late in the second half. At the 2 minute mark, down 5-7, with them in the one and one, we needed to foul quickly, extend the game and hopefully hit some 3s. For some reason, we let 20 or so seconds run off, before fouling, on 2 straight possessions, and didn’t really foul aggressively until under a minute. Again, a mistake.
Other thoughts on Xavier. MM was incredible. Just played a great game, aggressive, made big shots, kept us alive for a big part of the game. CJ had a bad night, but I think he really struggled after sitting so long. He is a guy who is used to playing virtually 40 minutes, and he looked off all night. I thought our shot selection left a lot to be desired at times in the second half. Wrong guys stepping up to take big shots late. And, obviously, our perimeter defense was brutal in the second half, and late in the first. While we were so good against Duke, showing on the pick and roll, we were ineffective against Xavier, and the 3s killed us. I will always feel amazing disappointment in that loss. We were not outmatched at all with Xavier. If we went out against a team like Kentucky and got blown out of the building, I could live with that. But, this game was so winnable, and I am not convinced we were not the better team. We just played so poorly, and shot the ball so badly. We should be planning for Atlanta this morning as the first 15 seed to go to the Sweet 16.
But, hard to complain too much. Amazing season, one for the ages, and we have an intact nucleus returning. Can’t wait for next season.
March 20, 2012 at 12:21 am #5495
- This topic was modified 8 years, 8 months ago by lehigh90.
Good recap 90, yeah, I too leave this season so very satisfied and joyous as to the success, but man that xavier game left a bad taste in my mouth. I agree, if we were totally outclassed by a UK or Baylor, I’d tip my hat and be off. But that X game was so freeking winnable, we go 13 of 20 from FTs, they hit some unreal tough buzzer 3’s, and we shot 15% from field in second half and still were tied at 52. Per my other post,w e could have used KM last night in a big way vs Frease from X.
I disagree with you on the CJ decision to end first half, you can’t let him get his 3rd there. I know it is easy to say 20/20 hindsight post-game, but we still had game tied at 52 with a shot to win it. If CJ got his 3rd it;d have made for a tough 2nd half. With that said, it was crucial/critical turning point of game.
I also think we tired, I think the emotional high of the Duke game, countless media interviews and attention, had some wear and tear on our boys. I think you could see it defensively we looked a step slower then usual and I quote the missed FTs and 15% FG in 2nd half…We were in this game with all that and a 5 for 20+ from our star…tough to swallow but what a year…leaves one craving more LU Hoops….which is so cool!March 20, 2012 at 3:17 am #5499
Can’t agree with you on CJ decision. I was screaming when Reed pulled him out, so not just making a 20/20 hindsight call. Reasoning goes like this. First, this is the NCAA tourney playing for a place the team and PL league has never been. As a big underdog, you gotta take risks. Second, both fouls were offensive fouls, so it is not as if some Xavier player was breaking him down repeatedly off the dribble. Third, if you are concerned about a matchup like Holloway, you slide Bailey over and put CJ on the weakest offensive player to protect him. Fourth, he is your offense, period. Everything flows through him and he is the only go to player on the team late in the shot clock. You needed his offense to score the ball and involve and make it easier for your secondary scorers. And, finally, the guy is a tremendously smart player with unbelievable body awareness and control. He could have been careful to avoid the third until the second half. I just think Reed got too conservative with the big lead. If you are going to sit him after 2, why bring him back with 2 minutes to go in the first, when he could have picked up a third anyway. That decision was a momentum killer.
Final thought on that decision. Coach K had same call with Seth Curry in the Duke game. CJ put 2 quick ones on him and Coach K, a massive favorite, stayed with Curry, who did then pick up a third in first half and a 4th with 18 minutes left in the game. In a big game, you have to roll the dice a bit. Always get beat with your best players on the floor, bot your second tier guys.March 20, 2012 at 10:50 am #5503
Agree with your reasoning on the CJ, but still think it was right call to pull him there, but clearly it didn’t work out. I just know if what happened to curry happened to CJ we’re not even in that game with 5 minutes left,we’re blown out way early….but I hear your reasoning 100%, just disagree with you.March 20, 2012 at 3:44 pm #5510
I thought Reed basically had to pull C.J. there for reasons other than the two fouls. It would have been one thing if he were ripping things up and already had 10 points, and it would have been another thing if Tu was on fire and they sorely needed C.J.’s defense. But both Tu and C.J. and 2 points between them at that point, and I thought the rest would do C.J. good and have him come back strong in the second half. IMO, he was not the same player in that game – whether it was distractions, playing 2 high-pressure games in 2 days, I don’t know.
I think way too much emphasis is being put on C.J. “not carrying the team” or something. C.J. is obviously a special player, but there are a lot more people on the floor than just C.J. Not to make excuses, but every player on the court had a chance to make buckets in the second half, and it wasn’t done. You can’t shoot under 20% in the second half and hope to win in the NCAA tournament.
I think you have to make it a learning experience, kind of like how the football team took the Delaware loss in the playoffs in 2010 and used it to springboard the following year. It’s a tough loss, sure. But the gap between Xavier and Lehigh, as everyone is pointing out, isn’t that big. What can be done next year to get to not just win a game, but reach the Sweet Sixteen? More conditioning? Being, perhaps, just a tiny bit tougher? I don’t know the answer to that, but I do know that losing to Delaware was a huge inspiration to the Lehigh football team this year.
If C.J. returns for his senior year, I am licking my chops thinking about B.J., M Squared and C.J. in that backcourt. It could be the best team in Lehigh history.March 20, 2012 at 4:01 pm #5512
Curious as to what people think about the other 2 issues I brought up (lack of adjustment to Fraese dominating the game) and (starting to foul way too late in the game)?
Believe me, I realize that it is almost impossible to win shooting as poorly as Lehigh did, but I thought those were also mistakes. Thoughts, anybody?March 20, 2012 at 4:08 pm #5515
I want to hear what you have to say about the weekend: either here, or you can write me at email@example.com. I want to know what you think about the Lehigh fans, students – basically, anything you can think of about the last five days.March 20, 2012 at 4:23 pm #5517
I agree ’90 about the lack of adjustment on Frease. Reed obviously knew going in that Gabe didn’t have the size to match up one on one. Once he saw Xavier going to that well over and over with success, I think he should have had a guard dig down and help as soon as Frease put the ball on the floor, or even on the catch. Frease doesn’t have great coordination or court savvy to find the open man off the double team. MM, CJ, BJB are also all very quick and do a pretty good job of getting back out to shooters from help situations.
As for fouling earlier, I’m not as convinced. The team seemed pretty deflated from their inability to make shots, and I think we all thought that eventually some shots would start to fall. In hindsight I agree that fouling earlier may have given the team a better chance, but I never remember watching the game and thinking that I wish the team would start fouling.March 20, 2012 at 5:41 pm #5521
Frease got quite a few scores when our defender left him to help out or was trapped up court and nobody picked him up. I could have lived with the 1 on 1 scores he got, the easy dunks and lay ups when he was uncontested was what really hurt.March 20, 2012 at 5:46 pm #5523
More comments later (just returned from Greensboro) as this is my day to babysit by 5 year-old granddaughter. Have my hands full, to say the least.
But, on the topic of doubling-down on Frease. Yes! I was not pleased with the too-often single attention given their 7’0″ / 275 lb moose. We made him look sooooo good when, in fact, he’s a 24 minute guy who average 10 ppg and connects on slightly more than half his shots from the center post. Maneri (12 minutes) needed more playing time. For that matter, so did Greiner (12 minutes) who could have been instrumental in limiting Frease. As for Holden, he hit one of his first two shots and more importantly looked comfortable in doing it. But, you look up, and he’s gone. Somehow, he managed 5 boards. This could have been one of his biggest days and he never seemed to on the court when most needed. He, too, could have helped keep Frease in check. On the other hand, you have Jordan looking lost and taking what too-often appeared to be ill-advised shots and not near a single rebound opportunity. Perhaps a small exaggeration, but you get the idea. A difficult 16 minutes for a good guy and worthy team captain. His line score told the story: 0 boards, 0 points (0-6) and 2 PFs. He’s no doubt feeling the pain today. Yes, managing the bigs in their pursuit of Frease was my biggest complaint.
As for getting Frease in foul trouble, I was calling for it – as were the guys in Section 124/Row MM. How can we not do it?! The guy escaped with 0 personals in 34 minutes. Unacceptable! I looked up at the scoreboard with exactly 11 minutes to play in the game and we had them in the bonus! What do we do? We shoot more 3’s – only one of which fell and that was too little too late. That’s 1 out of 15 in the second half. Hard to recall many drives into the lane looking to get fouled. Must have been some, but in my way of thinking not nearly enough.March 20, 2012 at 7:23 pm #5529
After Lehigh/Duke, I stuck around for about the first 10 minutes of ND/Xavier. When Frease came out on the floor for warmups, I could not believe the size of the guy. He is a monster, just a monster. They all look bigger in person, but with him it is ridiculous. I don’t think Gabe posted on the low block, received the ball, and scored during the whole Xavier game. Guy is that intimidating.March 20, 2012 at 9:23 pm #5535
I am still exhausted from one of the greatest weekends of my life. I plan on sharing with all of you our experience when I get a little energy and time this week. It was incredible Friday night and all day Saturday. Great to meet a bunch of alums and family of players, too.March 20, 2012 at 9:34 pm #5538
Now, will people start attendng the games?March 21, 2012 at 7:49 am #5558
I love the comments. First, the big guy was huge. I have to say that Reed coached great, but got conservative with the lead. He sat CJ due to fouls, sat Adams because of the lead and yes I thought Greiner should have remained in the game. He had his stroke back. When you take a guy like CJ who plays all the time, and JA who has been on the floor, Greiner who had his stroke back, you get them out of their flow. I think Reed got out coached, the boys were tired with all the media, but all that said, I would take a win over Duke anytime over Xavier. Great job Reed and company for a year that ended well.
Side note: Where can one get the Lehigh Beat Duke Carolina Blue shirts?March 21, 2012 at 11:10 am #5559
Memories made off the court:
Reliving in my mind the Duke game as I made the 10 hour drive south and wondering how we’d match-up with Xavier. Unable to make it to Duke, there was no way I was going to miss this chance to see us advance into the Sweet 16. Kept thinking to myself, is Holloway that good, would we surprise them with a zone, who would step up besides CJ, would it be enough? Oh yeah, did I properly set the DVR before the leaving the house to be sure I captured our move to the Sweet 16?
> Pre-game LU Gathering at Jakes (neighborhood bar) where over 150 player-family members, fans, former players and alumni met for 4+ hours prior to our 8pm Xavier tip. Young and old sharing tales of the glorious season and the thrill of taking down Duke. Great opportunity to tell tales of past and present seasons. Where else does one get to chance to chat with and thank the Moms and Dads for their sons’ season-long outstanding efforts? Will long remember the two-way bonding and friendship developed. Listening to CJ’s dad tell stories of his son’s commitment to the game and his future hopes. Getting tattoed (small L/Mountain Hawk) by Mary Knutson. Meeting the Maneri’s and their son, Steve (6’6,” 290 lb Kansas City Chief lineman), at the bar. Wondering did he play b’ball and how is younger brother would do later in the day when pitted against Frease, Xavier’s 7-footer. Sharing a few moments with Denis Schaefer (Basketball Head Coach, Grand View University, D-II) and thinking how great it is to have a coach’s son as our PG in waiting. All in all, a perfect kick-off event. My compliments to the organizers. If I had to guess, it would be LU2007 and his crew.
> Seeing my future son-in-law, a true UNC fan, enjoy his team in what I told him would be the preliminary event that day
> The 200 yard walk from Jakes that turned into 1/2 mile hike around the Coliseum perimeter. Where the hell is the entrance door to Will Call?!@#$
> Trying to buy a LU T-shirt at vendor stations around the arena only to find out it was the only team shirt labeled “sold-out”
> The one t-shirt that read LU BEAT DUKE. Sure to be a hot seller for whoever had the idea. Brown lettering on a blue background in honor of both the Mountain Hawks and our newest/best friends from North Carolina
> Borrowing a press pass to get onto the court to thank Matt Kerr (LU’s radio guy) for his outstanding efforts all season long. You don’t know how lucky we are to have him. Maybe you do, having heard the BU and HC broadcasts. I’m sure Matt never thought months ago he be seating three seats away from Jim Nance doing the biggest game of his life.
> Seeing Clara Adams walk down the aisle knowing our voices would be heard when it came time to cheer
> The many NC fans that stuck-around for our game and………..
joined us in our “D-fense,” “Let’s go Lehigh,” and “L-U” chants
lined-up (10 deep) to have their pictures taken with Clutch (LU Mascot)
high-fiving anyone wearing the “brown” as we walked around the arena
Game Time Thoughts:
> Thanks to hoops90, LUHoops00, and others for earlier posts. Tremendous recaps. Can’t argue with much that has been said.
>Thinking “what’s up with this?!” As Coach Reed walked 40 feet over to the Xavier bench to seek-out and shake the opposing coach’s hand prior to the teams breaking huddle for opening tip. Always recalled the leaders meeting one another in front of the scorer’s table.
> Team dead tired. Emotionally-spent. Doubt Reed over-worked them but instead attribute it to post-game Duke media hoopla, etc. Never saw so many shoots clang off the front of the rim.
> Wasn’t troubled with sitting CJ in first half after getting his 2nd PF. He did log 34 minutes matching (actually bettering) his season-average of 33.1 mpg. I know the offense runs through CJ – as it should – but tonight (when sat) Mackey had it under control for the most part.
> Ice-cold shooting in 2nd half (making just 5 of 34 fga attempts) was the culprit. Give me just 10 of 34 (.294) with a couple of 3’s thrown-in and we win the game – problems with Frease notwithstanding.
> Deflated. Like taking a punch to the gut.
> Loss a highly winnable game.
> Reed and Company can stay as long as they want. Perhaps Coach of the Year voting should be delayed until after post-season play is completed. Just kiddin, Bison137. Your Man, Paulsen, did a great job this year.
> Might be harder to schedule top-notch opponents next year.
> Zell Awards Banquet is April 14th. Let’s turn out in mass! http://mylehigh.lehigh.edu/s/1127/index.aspx?sid=1127&gid=1&pgid=3546&cid=6642&ecid=6642&crid=0&calpgid=357&calcid=1360
> 68 teams began play in the NCAA’s. 67 will lose their last game. So, get over it!
> Disappointed but never been so proud to say that I’m from Lehigh.
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