10 THOUGHTS ON THE GEORGETOWN GAME
Rutgers opened its Big East season with a disappointing 63-57 loss at Georgetown. The loss was disappointing for a couple of reasons. First, under Head Coach Craig Esherick, Georgetown has a become a mere shadow of its formerly invincible self and, as such, presented an opportunity for a crucial conference road win that could act as a catalyst for the Big East season. Second, Rutgers continued its trend of road kill efforts that have been commonplace under Head Coach Gary Waters – turnovers, big deficits, and late game meltdowns. Here are ten thoughts on the Big East opener.
1. First half was another road kill meltdown. Georgetown outscored Rutgers 19-4 over a 7-minute span in the first half to take a commanding 18-point lead with nine minutes remaining. In 13 possessions, Rutgers committed 10 TOs – six in a row and then four in a row. Rutgers attempted only 6 shots and made only two baskets. Meanwhile, Georgetown scored on 10 of their 13 possessions during this stretch. Seven times in transition. Rutgers narrowed the lead to 10 at halftime few TOs, better defense, dribble penetration, and offensive rebounding late in the first half.
2. The second half was much improved defensively. Rutgers held Georgetown to 29% FG shooting. Georgetown scored only three second-half transition points compared to 11 in the first half. Rutgers closed the gap to two points with three minutes remaining largely due to dribble penetration and transition. However, Rutgers couldn't overtake the Hoyas because the Scarlet Knights shot only 33% in the second half. That's why big deficits are so damning. Rutgers doesn't shoot well enough to erase big deficits quickly or easily. That Rutgers nearly did was testament to the youth, not the vets.
3. Offensively, this team is terrible. They play like five guys who don't know each other. Worse yet, like they've just been introduced to the game. Rutgers spends too much time dribbling and passing sideline to sideline in the backcourt rather than attacking the basket. The Knights are more successful when they attack the basket – 18 of 57 points were scored off dribble penetration – layups, mid-range jumpers, inside dishes, and kickouts for 3-balls.
4. As poorly as Ricky Shields played (1-8 FGAs and 3 TOs), he pulled down 10 rebounds. Only two of his 8 FGAs were bad shot. One was a dumb putback attempt from behind the basket through the Hoya big men. Shields' rebounding has been much improved this season. Otherwise, he was awful. That charge he drew early in the game in transition was telegraphed when he crossed halfcourt. Never mind the open man on the weak side. Very Jerome of him. He also had many offensive and defensive lapses on the court
5. Herve Lamizana took his first shot from the low post in the final minutes of the first half. He is awful on the perimeter – especially against smaller players – yet spends most of his time there. His attempt to draw a 4-point play before halftime was atrocious. Amadou Kilkenny-Diaw jumped sideways past Herve. Herve jumped after Diaw – chasing the contact – to draw the foul when he had a wide-open jumper if he went straight up with the shot. The referees didn't bail Herve on that boneheaded play. Waters must get Herve into the low or high post, where his skills are more valuable.
6. Quincy Douby and Calvin Wooten were the only players who were remotely aggressive. Hill was aggressive on the offensive glass, pulling down seven offensive rebounds and scoring 12 points, many on putbacks. But his teammates don't pass him the ball in the low post. Wooten scored seven points off the bench in the first half and added five more in the second half. Douby finished with 14 points, 10 in the second half. He scored Rutgers final six points off dribble penetration yet Waters inexplicably called Herve's number down the stretch. The result – one TO and a blocked shot.
7. It's January and Waters has finally played Herve at power forward. Props for his firm yet belated grasp on the obvious. Herve is ineffective on the perimeter against other small forwards, who are quick enough to cover him.
8. Juel Wiggan played one minute during which he recorded one foul and two TOs. None of which were solely his fault. The first TO occurred when Wiggan forgot about a Hoya defender he had dribbled past. However, Shields watched silently has his defender –Matt Causey – picked Wiggan's pocket from behind. Wiggan fouled Darrell Owens on the ensuing fast break. Owens then intercepted a cross-court pass from Wiggan to Lamizana while Herve waited as Owens broke on the ball. I haven't seen a quick hook like that since Kevin Bannon roamed the sidelines, practicing his special brand confidence-building.
9. Rutgers don't handle the press any better under Waters than we did under Bannon. Rutgers methodically breaks the press, allowing opponents to press at will because it costs opponents nothing (no fast break points against a broken press) and allows opponents to force TOs and create easy transition opportunities. Waters must teach his players to aggressively attack a press and score against it.
10. Rutgers refuses to feed the low post. Time after time, the
Scarlet Knight backcourt players
ass out of there where he is otherwise clogging the lane and have him set
screens on the perimeter.