"My rule was I wouldn't recruit a kid if he had grass in front of his house.
That's not my world. My world was a cracked sidewalk." —Al McGuire

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Bullied: Friars Clip Golden Eagles

With Silas from the DaVinci Code watching from halfcourt and ESPN's Don Orsillo asleep at the switch, the Providence Friars bullied Marquette all over the floor tonight on their way to a 74-59 victory.

What an ugly game. With the loss, MU falls to 13-3 on the season and 0-1 in the Big East.

While it took Don Orsillo and his television buddies 15 minutes to warm up with the cameras rolling (the geniuses didn't realize that Jerel McNeal was absent until the first 15 minutes of the game had passed), the Friars took it to MU right from the opening tip. The physical Friars opened up a 37-28 lead at the half on the strength of a dominant frontline and a slew of second chance points. Frankly, it could have been worse for MU......its a good thing Curry didn't play tonight.

The second half was more of the same. It didn't matter who was on the blocks for the Providence -- Hall, Hill, McDermott, Kale or Friar Tuck -- the fellas from the Ocean State enjoyed free reign in the paint.

MU closed the gap to just five points at 39-34 with 17:08 remaining in the game, only to let the Friars explode with a 17-7 run over the next eight minutes to put the game away. Providence shot 50% from the field tonight, dominating in the paint. Senior Herbert Hill led the Friars with 23 points and 9 rebounds.

Once again, MU shot miserably from behind the arc, going 4-21 from deep. Dominic James was 1-8 from that distance. As a team, MU shot just 31% from the field as the offense failed to produce good looks all game long. Need proof? Providence's starting power forward Geoff McDermott had 11 assists -- one less than the entire MU roster.

At least it was good to see Wesley Matthews on the floor tonight. Showing no signs of the head injury, Matthews played well leading MU with 14 points. Lazar Hayward played well off the bench, chipping in with 12 points largely based on his aggressive play which led to four offensive rebounds. Hayward was an impressive 8-8 from the line tonight as well.

The gauntlet has just begun. MU welcomes Syracuse to the Bradley Center on Sunday.

AP recap.

Box Score.

Palladium-Item on the loss.

Kevin McNamara on the Friars' win.

Rosiak on the road loss.


Gene Frenkle said...

What an f-ing abysmal game.

Just terrible from the opening tip. I can't believe I'm saying this (only because I've been so hard on the guys turnovers)...but J.McNeal is the MVP of that team. W/out him, they go nowhere.

James is a shell of his '05/'06 self to me right now. Just looks a step slow and only plays well in spurts.

Kinsella is absolutely terrible. How I long for the days of Marcus Jackson. Their down low game is just awful.

If they don't wake up, we could be looking at the 05/06 version of the Louisville Cardinals. i.e. 7-9 conference record, Not Invited Tournament. Not good times.

With every passing game, Novak's legacy gets better and better - from the standpoint of what one guy meant to that offense opening up...and having someone that can hit a 3-point jump shot.

Can't believe how much I miss Joe Chapman too.

Anonymous said...

Bullied was a good description. We missed Jerel. My thoughts is screw the three. If you can't hit it, don't shoot it. Take a shot you can make. Ooze seemed to finally wake up when the game was out of reach. Next year with the three freshman bigs coming in, it will be a different story. Looks like we will just have to scratch, claw and scrape it out this year.

Anonymous said...

Just came back from the game. Sat at courtside not far from Danny Ainge who was scouting. The eagles looked sluggish, out of the flow, not energy except for the first 5 minutes of the 2nd half. We had little to no offense and no answer to their bigs. Is coach losing his hold on the team. DJ looked very tentative and his left leg started to bother him in the 2nd half. This isn't the savanna states anymore.

Anonymous said...

McNeal was missed. I'd gladly give Providence Curry if Marquette could have all three guards on the floor. Providence seemed to be somewhat turnover prone and with McNeal's ability to force turnovers they could have made every possession more challenging. His absence proved further his ability to drive is critical as it seems nobody else can penetrate on a zone. I wasn't at the game obviously but it sounded like they were lost on offense with very little off the ball movement like in previous poor shooting/scoring games this year when McNeal's energy carried the team. We've heard McNeal takes poor shots, especially threes, but James and Matthews didn't come close to 50% shooting tonight either. Even after that, I'd still say no if asked if Marquette would have won with McNeal in the lineup. They would have come within 10, and I'll agree with the earlier post that McNeal is the MVP of this team.

I'll take the lower point total from Matthews before 14 points and 1 assist with a pitiful shooting percentage. 6-18? Either he's not passing the ball or his teammates are watching him work.

McDermott had 3 more assists than Marquette'e entire team, and he's a big man.

Why does Dwight Burke get any playing time? He has no offensive dimension and just commits fouls defensively. If Tom Crean won't play Blackledge over Burke, then play tired or foul-troubled big men or go completely undersized.

Re-read the previous paragraph, inserting Kinsella where you see Burke.

How much of this "improvement" that we always hear is happening does Ousmane Barro need to make until he can compete with quality Big East big men? Anyway you look at it, getting into foul trouble, having Hill score at will, scoring less than usual, and struggling to get rebounds is getting dominated. There are going to be a lot of losses in the Big East without a single competent big man.

Lazar Hayward is definately a work in progress. He manages to make some plays inside and you have to hope he can emerge as another scoring option. He must improve defensively. He's nowhere close to filling a stat sheet like either of the Providence big men did tonight-still with only 1 assist on the entire year. Maybe he was getting fouled, but at 2-9 shooting you have to believe he kept going up for the shot and never looked to see if the other four guys wearing blue were open.

Did Dominic James lose his ability to make plays inside? It seemed like he could be counted on for quite a few improbable points inside every game last year and he attacked inside when we didn't even know if he would be playing he was so hurt. Maybe he was being doubled, but the announcers kept saying he should be able to blow by his man and it never seemed to happen. Now he's just showing that his poor three point shooting hasn't improved after all by taking way too many threes. 1-8 on threes is ridiculous, and he was outplayed by a freshman who usually doesn't even start. If he wants to turn pro after this season we can wish him good luck in the NBDL.

David Cubillan is terrible. If he's a real shooter he should be able to make shots with a man on him, but it seems like he "hears footsteps" and can't even make open shots. He seems to have no inside game either so if he can't shoot he can't do anything. Enough with the freshman references. He has half a season in, and I don't remember anyone making this many excuses for the freshmen last year and they didn't have any backcourt leadership. It's not like we haven't seen anything from him this year, so his poor play recently is even more frustrating. Even though he wasn't a star, I'd gladly take a Joe Chapman for 30 minutes than Cubillan, but Cubillan ended up being the "most experienced guard" left to plug in the lineup.
Crean said after the game he considered starting Hayward but felt starting two freshmen in the conference opener was a "recipe for disaster". Providence went big, so why not start James, Matthews, Hayward, Barro, and Fitzgerald or Lott?

We're used to having at least one good half, but tonight there might not have even been a five-minute stretch of good basketball. Just completely dominated. I've said that I'll take 3 road wins in the Big East this year, and that might prove to be a difficult goal to accomplish.

Anonymous said...

As much as we're looking forward to next year and seeing what are hopefully some good big men, or at least not as useless as Kinsella and Burke, I think having Acker and Christopherson to shoot will be equally important.

Gene Frenkle said...

Two comments ago, the guy made a good point about Chapman...but lets not forget. Joe's freshman year you had him, Novak, Diener and Wade. Also, you had Robert Jackson down low. All Joe had to do was step up and drain an open shot. Cubillion has to do more and as a small freshman, he's gonna struggle at times.

Novak had trouble hitting threes w/a guy on him until his senior year so asking Cubillion to do so as a frosh may be asking a lot. I still like David.

I place a lot of blame on the teams strugg and lack of energy on James, personally. I don't know if he's hurt, tentative due to not getting injured and hurting his NBA chances, or he's concerned about showing off his "improved" jumper. I don't know. Of course, it could be, dare I say it, poor coaching.

If the team's going to chuck up so many threes, why not run some set plays for Fitzgerald in the first half? He's the best open three point shooter on the team.

Hopefully the crowd is up for the game vs. Syracuse on Sunday night. They lost last night and neither them or MU need to start the season 0-2.

Anonymous said...

Orsillo was awful - and I like him doing baseball. McNeal brings so much to the table in terms of intensity and it is obvious, that the team feeds off this and missed it terribly last night... When will the day come when MU can overcome a starter being out and eke out a win...

Anonymous said...

Mc Neal would not have made a difference in this game. He puts the ball on the floor and takes it to the hole. You can't do that well against a zone. You have to be able to hit an open shot and they have been shown all year long not to be able to do that. And *where* was the defense? PC shot 50% from the floor!!! This is going to be a long year unless someone can step up and hit a shot.

Anonymous said...

That's the thing-I've taken note during several games (Idaho State, North Dakota State come to mind) where the offense was LOST against the zone. Traditionally you can't penetrate inside against a zone, but McNeal was able to crack it with some success. Not perfect, but everyone else seemed to be standing around while he made plays against the zone and was the only effective scorer. McNeal definately would have made a difference, though not enough to win.