Tuesday, November 09, 2010

73-68 win over UAH in double OT

It took 10 minutes of free basketball before we were finally able to claim victory over the mighty chargers. Give credit to UAH who had a great plan and played very hard, but we have a long way to go.

The charger point guard, who played the entire 50 minutes, was surprisingly quick and did a pretty good job of handling the basketball against our pressure. Early in the game they beat our traps and knocked down some open 3's. We switched to a man to man defense, but they still got way too many open looks from the perimeter. We were not physical enough in fighting through their screens (many of which were illegal, but not called). When we stretched our defense out to defend the perimeter, they cleared the lane and got several easy baskets on backdoor cuts. UAH lead by as many as 8 points in the first half.

I know some people get irritated at Senario Hillman at times, but he can carry the team when necessary. At one point we had a lineup where Hillman was the only legitimate scoring threat on the floor. I have no problem with his "ball hogging" in that situation.

JaMychal Green finished with 16 points, but he was too soft in the paint for much of the game. He was back to shooting his turnaround fade-away hook from the block that never seems to work.

Hankerson played a little better than he did against Talladega, in that he at least managed to not turn the ball over, but he's still not a viable option at this point. Watching him warm up, he made about 8 3's in a row, but when he gets in the game he frankly looks uptight and nervous as hell.

Eblen ran the point for much of the game and took good care of the basketball, but he took 2 shots with predictable results. Durant gave us some quality minutes and Engstrom looked a little more comfortable down low than he did the other night in limited action.

Our biggest problem right now is that we can't shoot. Hillman is the only one who I have any confidence in making a jump shot from the perimeter right now, although Tony Mitchell made a three. Releford can shoot but he needs to be wide open to get his shot off. Getting Charves Davis back, and hopefully Andrew Steele, will be a big help.

Free throw shooting is disgusting. From Releford to Green and everybody in between, we suck. 50%!?! I've seen junior high teams shoot better than 50% from the line.

Late game decision making was atrocious. I became completely unglued, both at the end of regulation and even moreso at the end of the first overtime, because we had the ball with no shot clock, with timeouts remaining, and did not use one to set anything up. At the end of regulation the set broke down and we forced a bad shot, Green got the rebound but couldn't score, in large part because he was being anally raped at the time. Unfortunatley, Mike Stuart, the official, didn't notice. At the end of the first overtime we again had the ball with less than 35 seconds left, didn't call timeout, ended up turning the ball over and giving UAH the last shot. There is absolutely no excuse for not getting the last shot in that situation. I thought Gottfried was back on the sideline for a moment. After taking some time to cool off, I am going to give Coach Grant the benefit of the doubt there and assume he just wanted to see how his team would handle that situation if they didn't have a timeout, since it was only an exhibition game. Obviously the answer was not very good, so that is another thing we need to work on.

If we continue to play like this, especially in the first half, we may struggle with FAMU and Troy, not to mention the teams in the Paradise Jam. On the other hand, it could be worse. auburn lost to Columbus College. If you are looking for some positives from this game: Releford had another good night and showed some leadership late in the close game. We also actually won a close, hotly contested game (yes, against a Div.II school), but it seemed we lost all of those last year.

Not basketball related, but our pregame intro music sucks. We need to bring back Metallica. Also, the crowd was pathetic. Maybe 3,000 or so, 40% of which were UAH fans.

Up next, the games start counting when the Florida A&M Rattlers come calling for an approximately 7:30pm tip off at Coleman Coliseum Friday night. Get there early and watch the women's team play at 5, the men's game will start 30 minutes after the conclusion of the women's game.

1 comment:

MSmilie said...

I had to work late so I missed a portion of the first half. On the one hand I have to say that UAH is a well-coached basketball team that was patient and never allowed Alabama to control the tempo of the game. Their guys played hard and deserve credit for their play.

However, as a fan you hate to see the team struggle in these types of games with the start of the season just four days away. Still, the team did win. As DJC pointed out, Auburn lost last night as did Tennessee in an exhibition game. Even Xavier lost an exhibition the other night. Sometimes this can be a source of worry, but most times it adds up to nothing. After all, Syracuse lost an exhibition game last year and they turned out all right.

I do think Grant's logic in not calling the timeouts was to see how the team would respond in a late game situation. Obviously that will continue to be a point of emphasis moving forward.

One thing is certain to me: Bama needs Charvez and Andrew back as soon as possible. There is no real perimeter scoring threat right now without Charvez. Andrew is still a bit of a question mark after missing most of last season, but his experience counts for something.

The bench right now is not good. Durant has shown some flashes here and there, but other than that I have been unimpressed with the bench production through the first two games. Hankerson has not been the impact player I was hoping he would be so far while Engstrom and Carter don't appear capable of playing major minutes at this point. If Ben Eblen is going to be the primary back-up to Trevor, then Trevor is going to have to play some serious minutes this season. I had my doubts about Eblen's ability to play at this level last season and I've seen nothing so far to make me change my mind. UAH had absolutely no respect for his shooting ability when he was in the game, deciding to play off him to deny any passes down low to JaMychal and Chris. And physically, I saw nothing to suggest that he will be comfortable facing off against D-1 guards night in and night out. I hope I'm wrong. It's only two games so there is time for the team to improve.

Tony Mitchell and JaMychal Green are the two guys who must play well every night this season for Alabama to have a realistic shot at a postseason bid. Unfortunately, through two games, both players look tenative to me. There have been flashes, but they must be more consistent. There were times last night when JaMychal was owned by the UAH player he was defending. Not taking anything away from those UAH players, but if you fancy yourself a future pro player you must dominate that level of competition.

Tony just didn't have a great night. He fouled out well before the end of regulation and I was not impressed with his body language as things were going bad for him. Yes, the officiating was frustrating at times last night, but you have to play through that shit.

DJC summed up the free throw shooting. It was abysmal. They've got to shoot better at the free throw line. This team is not a good offensive team right now. They must take advantage of points off turnovers and free throw shooting in order to keep pace on the scoreboard. If they shoot better from the line last night the game is still close but it doesn't go into overtime. Fortunately, UAH wasn't great at the free throw line either or we might be talking about a loss.

Releford is a player. Yes, he did not shoot his free throws well after posting a 7-7 mark in the first game and he had one more turnover than assist, but I was impressed at his toughness late in the game. He basically put the team on his back, making plays on both ends of the floor. I think this kid is going to be a special player.

Senario also had a good game. He had a couple of WTF moments, but that's just something you have to expect from him. Despite that, you can't argue with his numbers - 15 points, 6 rebounds, 5 assists, 5 steals and only 2 turnovers.