Thursday, December 08, 2011

Dayton Flyers make Bama Cryers, 74-62

This was our worst performance since St. Thomas last year.  Green picked up 2 early fouls, including an intentional that got the crowd into the game and allowed Dayton to go on an early run.  As a result, he only played 3 minutes in the first half.  I won't rehash the first half since I posted about it below, but being down only 11 we still had a decent shot.

It was more of the same in the 2nd half.  Dayton was very effective against our half court traps.  Their 10-19 shooting from 3 point range was not a fluke, most of those were wide open looks.  I thought we tried to do too much defensively, often switching from the 2-3 zone to a diamond +1 in the same possession.  For the most part, Dayton handled our press, but we did have one stretch in the 2nd half where the defense got us back into the game.  We forced several turnovers that resulted in transition baskets, and we were able to cut the lead to 4.  Unfortunately, Dayton drained back to back 3's to answer and push the lead back to 10.  We cut it to 8, got a turnover, and had JaMychal Green at the line for a 1 and 1, but he missed the front end, Dayton scored at the other end, and it was never remotely close again.

Although he was able to score 12 points in the post, this was one of Green's worst games in a long time.  He seemed tired down the stretch, holding his knees during dead balls and all of his jump shots (and free throws) seemed to miss off the front of the rim.  This is inexplicable considering he only played 3 minutes of the first half.

Tony Mitchell tried to keep us in the game with 18 points, but even he forced some bad midrange jump shots.  Our offense is terrible right now.  We don't have anybody who can shoot from the outside.  Trevor Lacey has good form and was 2 for 6 from downtown, but everybody else is pretty much hopeless right now.  Cooper was 0 for 3 and missed some early shots and lost all confidence.  I'm not convinced Randolph will ever be a great shooter with the lack of rotation on his shot.  A big part of our shooting woes are mental.  Our wing players lack confidence right now and are passing up some open shots only to end up taking the same contested shot later in the possession with the shot clock running down.  A physical defect that I have noticed, we don't seem to set our feet as the pass is coming so that we can get a quick shot off.  This is especially problematic against a zone.  Our players don't catch the ball in position to shoot, instead they take a second or two after securing the ball to decide the next move, which gives the defense time to react.

Surprisingly, Dayton did not run as much zone as I thought they would, after we had problems with it against Georgetown.  It's troubling that we struggled against their man to man as much as we did.

Releford's sophomore slump continues.  He scored 13 points, but we need more than 2 assists in 35 minutes.  He's also got to get to the foul line more, as he only shot 1 free throw this game.  When we made our run to cut it to 4, his attacking the basket was a key part of that run.

Speaking of the point guard position, our substitution patterns made no sense whatsoever.  Ben Eblen played 8 minutes, about half of which were at the 2 position.  There is no reason, under ANY circumstance,EVER, that Ben Eblen should be in the game at the same time as Releford.  Especially when we are losing by double digits in the 2nd half.  You aren't going to come back with no scoring from your shooting guard position.  Neither Eblen nor Engstrom played against Georgetown, but they combined for 12 minutes last night.  Personally, I would only play Eblen if we were facing a pressing team and Releford and Lacey were struggling and/or in foul trouble.  Engstrom would only play if Green and Jacobs were in foul trouble.  Furthermore, we would either be in a 2-2-1 press or 2-3 zone with Engstrom in the middle.  No man to man, no 1-1-2-1 as we saw last night.  He doesn't have the quickness or reaction time to get into proper position.  Also, I think it's time to start Trevor Lacey over Rodney Cooper.

This was our first true road game and we play a lot of freshmen, so it's not surprising that they struggled.  It's concerning that our veterans did not step up, particularly Green and Releford.  Dayton seems to play better against big name opponents.  Their announcer said they are something like 16-5 against teams from power conferences over the last few years. Hopefully they will start playing better against the cupcakes on their schedule, or this loss could hurt us in March.

Up next, Dick Vitale's Detroit Titan's come to Tuscaloosa for a 5pm tipoff Sunday afternoon that will be televised on ESPNU.  They are 4-6 with a win over St. John's and close losses to Notre Dame and a solid Cleveland State team.  After 3 straight sub par performances, hopefully we can find some shooting and get back on track.


MSmilie said...

I didn't have a chance to tune in until just before halftime. I thought the team as a whole looked fatigued, not just JaMychal. It's rare that they've been outhustled in the Grant era, but that was a big part of the loss last night as well. Every long rebound, loose ball, etc. seemed to go to Dayton.

This goes back to my opinion that we overscheduled, particularly with a team that has to count on so many freshmen. Most of the games in the non-conference, even against the mid-majors, have been quality teams.

I'm willing to cut the freshmen a break. They're freshmen. They're allowed growing pains. It's the upperclassmen that are not getting it done. In my opinion, Tony has brought it every night. Yes, he still pouts and whines about foul calls but he plays with good energy every night. JaMychal does as well...when he's on the floor. If he doesn't get that stupid stupid stupid second foul last night and sit for the rest of the 1st half, it's probably a different game. As the lone senior, he's got to be smart and realize how much the team needs him on the floor.

The only real criticism I have is Trevor Releford. I love the guy but it's obvious he's not the same player he was last year. He's inconsistent, sometimes in the same game. Not sure if he's nicked up, feeling pressured by the young guys or something else but he has to play big. If those three guys don't play well, it's going to be hard to win games against quality competition. Also, it wouldn't hurt if Charles Hankerson could provide something - anything - off the bench.

As far as the rotation, the only thing I can figure is that Grant is still experimenting with the rotation or he was sending a message to someone. How else to explain Eblen and Releford on the floor together.

Hopefully the freshmen can gain some confidence because they've been almost non-existant in the last couple of games and that's gotta change. Not sure how healthy Lacey is right now. But, assuming he can play more minutes, I think he's got to be inserted into the starting line-up at some point. The game seems to be coming to him a little quicker than the other guys. And you're right about Cooper. After some solid showings early, he has seemingly dropped off the face of the earth.

In the end I think the team will be okay. Yes, they've struggled in recent games, but it took a 3 at the buzzer from Georgetown to lose that game and, for all of the defensive issues the team had last night, Dayton was also hitting damn near everything they threw up and we still were in the game up to the last couple of minutes.

Hopefully we can get it together. K-State and Oklahoma State (and how important has that game become in light of the BCS controversy?) are on the horizon, but they can't afford to overlook Detroit either. That team has had some struggles, but they've got some talent and could definitely knock us off if the team has another poor outing.

As I texted to Bobby last night: "It's tiring being an Alabama Basketball Fan." He compared it to being a Cubs fan, which isn't so crazy when you think about.

DJC said...

"He compared it to being a Cubs fan, which isn't so crazy when you think about."

Imagine being both. Welcome to my world.

39 Steps said...

I am in that same world. :) Born in Chicago, lifetime Cubs fan. Came south and became a Tide sports fan. I go back to C.M Newton, Wendell Hudson and Allan House.
I think this is poor coaching we're seeing. I don't know if CAG can tailor a game plan or make adjustments well enough during a game. He hasn't proved either. I'm happy with his image, character, recruiting, and his defensive style of play, but his skill at getting the most out of the offense is not apparent. I love him, he's my coach, but CAG is underwhelming in key areas.


Hville said...

Agreed on the substitution patterns. Why is Engstrom still coming off the bench before Jacobs? I feel compelled to believe that it's CAG's way of letting Engstrom sink or swim before conference play starts. Jacobs has at least shown that, even as a true freshman, he has something to offer on both sides of the ball, while Engstrom has not. And of course, having Engstrom and Eblen out there at the same time is not helpful at all....

bobbyjack said...

3rd on substitution... being the feed was in fine print I had to have someone else verify (DJC) that I saw the Big Swede and Big Ben out there at the same time.

I'm offering a different approach... we should start Carl (or Jacobs) and make Green come off the bench. Maybe that'll get Green to think about his silly fouls which put us in a bind early.

Call me concerned about our lack of a perimeter shooter.

And the Cubs comments... heh... I kinda know the feeling being a former TB Bucs fan. I did get the payoff in 2003, but that was after 16 yrs of misery. Then Gruden killed my interest and I converted to a semi-Falcons fan. :)

BamaLib said...

After getting BEAT by a game-winning 3-point shot in the PREVIOUS game, how in the world is it possible to present so little defense against the 3-point shot and allow Dayton to stroke TEN 3-pointers on us ! 3 X 10 = 30 points ! ! ! ! That's a LOT of points. Does our own ineptness of sinking 3-pointers cause our guards to think that everybody misses 3-pointers and there is no need to defend against them ? ?

I only see team-work between Guards and Forwards, but I NEVER EVER see offensive team-work among Guards, which accounts in part for why Bama is statistically at the bottom in Assists nationally ! A little team-work would also help these guards' dismal field-goal shooting percentage improve. Where is there any Offensive cooperation and Strategy among guards ? ? ?

At this point I'm tempted to think that Bama will win zero conference road games this season as long as its our upperclassmen 3-versus-5 opponents.