First and foremost, condolences to Coach Pelphrey and his family as he was unable to make today's game due to his mother-in-law's passing. I think we missed Coach Pelphrey today more than most people realize. I've noticed he's been more vocal in-game coaching from the bench in the first two games than he generally was last season.
Regardless, this was a pathetic effort all the way around. It reminded me a lot of the Georgia game from last year. Northeastern was in control from the tip, and we never really showed any fight.
The Huskies started the game with an alley-oop out of their half-court set, and promptly took an 8-0 lead before we called a timeout. I don't recall us ever getting any closer than a 5 point deficit, and Northeastern led by 11 at the break. Petty made a couple of 3s early in the second half, but Northeastern answered and led by 10-12 for most of the game before finally stretching it out to 17 at one point.
I was very disappointed in our defensive effort. We had poor communication and way too many blown assignments. On at least 3 different occasions they ran a simple pick and roll at the top of the key with their forwards clearing out to the corners to open the lane to the basket, and both of our defenders stayed with the ball and the help-side rotation never came down low, resulting in wide-open layups.
I don't want to take anything away from Northeastern. They are picked to win their conference, and are obviously a well coached, fundamentally sound team. They had great ball movement which led to wide open 3s, where they made 9 of 17. They made good decisions with the basketball and were not bothered by our press.
Meanwhile, we kept jacking up contested 3s that were not going in. We were 3 of 19 from downtown, and two of those were the aforementioned from JP. We should have made an effort to attack the basket. I thought JP played a decent game, he ended up with 17 points and 5 rebounds, and did at least make some effort to drive to the hoop. In what should have been a good matchup for Donta Hall, he was a complete non-factor, in part due to the game plan, but frankly the whole team looked disinterested for most of the game.
This is not necessarily a season breaking loss as Northeastern should at least finish in the top 100 NET if not better, but it's a big loss in that it deprives us of some real resume building opportunities on a neutral court. For me, the bigger concern is that we continue to have a few games per year where we have this type of effort. Even the best teams will have bad nights shooting the ball, but good teams don't give up and throw in the towel on defense. The lack of adjustments is also concerning, at some point you have to stop jacking 3s when they aren't falling.
Up next, we play Ball State tomorrow on the same court at either 12 or 12:30 Central time. The game will be televised on either ESPN2 or ESPNU.