"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

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Chism's career night leads Vols over Marquette

Wayne Chism keyed a decisive Tennessee second half run as Marquette fell short on the road tonight, losing 80-68 in Nashville. With the loss the Golden Eagles fall to 8-2 on the season.

The teams were tied at the break. After exchanging baskets early in the second half, MU went on a 6-0 run to push ahead 48-46 with 10:44 remaining thanks in part to the swarming 1-3-1 defense that worked equally well against Wisconsin earlier this season.

This time the momentum was short-lived.

Following a desperate Tennessee timeout, Dominic James bailed out the Vols when he fouled 6'9" Wayne Chism in three-point territory with just four seconds left on the shot clock. Chism hit a pair of free throws kicking off an 8-0 Volunteer run, pushing the Volunteer lead to 54-48 with nine minutes remaining. Marquette was never able to get closer than two points for the rest of the game.

Lazar Hayward's three-pointer with 2:20 remaining capped another 6-0 MU run which cut the Volunteer lead to 70-68, but Tennessee responded with a Josh Tabb three-pointer to extend the lead to five and the Vols soon salted the game away.

Surprisingly, during the key second half run by Tennessee, Buzz Williams declined to go back to the 1-3-1 zone which worked so well earlier in the game, opening the door for Chism's huge second half. Chism finished with 26 points, 21 in the second half, more than double his season average of 10. Marquette surrendered 48 second half points to the Volunteers.

Marquette wasted a Yeoman's effort by Wesley Matthews who wound up with a career-high 30 points. Matthews was a one-man wrecking crew, scoring 20 of Marquette's 36 second half points.

Jerel McNeal turned in his worst performance of the season finishing with 10 points before fouling out with 5:33 to play. Dominic James finished with 8 points on 3-13 shooting. Lazar Hayward had 14 points.

A few other observations:

  • Wesley Matthews not only gets to the line, but actually sinks his free throws (Matthews was 15-18 from the line). The rest of the team combined for a disappointing 9-17 from the charity stripe. Here's the box score.
  • In today's Journal-Sentinel, coach Williams explained that foul trouble as a major factor in the game. It was, but his decision to put Jerel McNeal back into the lineup late in the first half where he promptly collected his third foul contributed to the problem. McNeal played only 25 minutes before fouling out.
  • Tennessee connected on 49% of their shots for the game. MU's lack of depth and height is clearly a factor in the team's porous defense so far this season.
  • As problematic as the defense appears to be, MU's offense was ineffective last night as the Golden Eagles routinely settled for jumpshots. A startling 52% of Marquette's field goal attempts were three-pointers (25 of the team's 48 attempts). Marquette connected on 32% of those shots (8 for 25), and shot only 38% for the game overall.
  • For the game, Marquette made only ten two-point field goal attempts (five in each half).
  • Despite McNeal's foul trouble, David Cubillan played just one minute. Considering he blew two defensive assignments, it was one minute too long.


Championships Matter said...

If this game was indicative of what is to come, it will be a longer season that we would like. The free throw shooting, save for Wes Matthews, was horrible and the team totally lacked patience.

Dwight Burke may be the nicest guy on the team but he was totally ineffective in the post and until we get Fulce and Otule back, we're going to be victimized there.

The fact of the matter is the weakness in the mdidle was glaring. I hestitate to think how we'll face against the upper eschelon of the Big East. Tennessee is a good team, but we should have beaten them.

Motto for the night: Patience is a virtue and we have none. Absolutely none!

Oliver said...

We obviously had no answer down low, but I would have liked Buzz to pack in the defense in the 2nd half. Tennessee does not shoot the three well and were just beaten by Temple who forced them to shoot outside. Also, they are an impatient team that might have fired away if we gave them the chance.

They also need to work with Burke or Hazel on simply getting the pass in the post and dishing back out or hitting a cutter. They don't need to score down there to be useful.

Unknown said...

I know the great majority will be on the bashing end of their opinion of the game, but I thought we gave it a heck of a battle. Everyone had us as underdogs and while technically it was a neutral court, with it being in Tennessee 95% of the fans were not rooting for MU. I thought Burke gave an admirable job. DJ was a disappointment especially with him losing his cool and getting the Technical at a critical time. Don't know what was up with Jerel. Wes had glimmers of D Wade. Go Marquette! Bring on the Big East!

Unknown said...

With the big 3 back for their senior year and Hayward showing signs of being a potential beast I had felt this team could be the best since the Wade era. I am extremely dissappointed with this lose. First, our bench hurt us beyond belief with the inability to score a point. 2nd, they could not remotely handle the TN defense - what happened to the 1-3-1!?

I think NC State will be tough and if we lose another out of conference game we better startin' doing some major ass suckin to the NCAA Tourn'y committee.

Pathetic Loss!!!!!

Spam Dunk said...

D. James did his best to blow this game for us. 3-point foul (deja vu, anyone?) and a T-foul? Nothing like handing a team 5-points and momentum in a close game. Senior leadership? He's a big baby.

Gene Frenkle said...

I think DJ has improved immensely as a PG, he still makes stupid, stupid decisions at times when he gets too fired up. The three-point foul was atrocious. The technical foul, however, was a weak call. But, you can't put yourself in that position in a game like that.

Can we stop with the Burke-did-an-admirable job stuff and stop talking about him like he's a kindergartner that remembered to pick up after himself? He's played what...five really stand-out games in 3.5 years? He takes more time to catch a ball and get a shot up in the paint than anyone I've ever seen. "Catch, double pump, bend down, take step, raise ball, go up...and get fouled/miss-shot". And to top it off, he can't shoot free throws. GOD we need Otule and Fulce back (and the Mbakwe transfer killed us).

Big props to Wes. Just outstanding job. He's always been the guy who's not afraid to initiate contact and get to the line. I don't care if his shooting percentage is lower because of it. He gets to the line and gets points on the board.

Terrible...no....TERRIBLE coaching move to put Jerel back in w/two fouls. Hello, Buzz? Uhh, yeah, your bench sucks right now and the big four account for 98% of your points. You may want to not do that again. And another thing, when you are successful with the 1-3-1, don't get out of it...especially with your best defender on the bench. That just magnifies the first problem you made (having McNeal in there w/two).

Not a gawd awful loss, but had a shot to win vs. a tough opponent and didn't get it. Need to regroup and win out to 'nova...and get Fulce and Otule back.

mbedics said...

Not a bad loss, but the foul situation was crazy. Seemed like we couldn't get a break.

Unknown said...

I second everything that Gene Franklin has said especially the Burke comment. He needs to be quicker and attack the basket. At least when Hazel did look good for those couple of games in the beginning of the game he knows how to attack the basket.

Coach Williams said they don't practice free throws and it is just mental well I guess mentally they did not have it because free throws need to be practiced.

This loss hurts more because we had a shot to win even with all the injuries, foul trouble, terrible shot selection and loss of Mbakwe.

kak14 said...

wow. some of you are terrible with panicking after a loss. we did lose to tennessee who not to long ago was ranked 8th in the country. we played a tough game and if we had otule and fulce i think that could've made a difference. besides the fact that every single 50-50 call was given to tennessee. i thought the officials were bad.

and sorry but practicing free throws is a waste. we shot poorly because people like burke and other poor shooters kept getting fouled...practice won't do anything for them. also butler missed a few which was probably nerves in a first big road game.

i love this blog but the game review article was very very negative which is pretty uncharacteristic for the writers of this blog who not too long ago were prasing the team and buzz for a win over wisconsin

Unknown said...

I do not think anyone is being over critical at all. We may have jumped the gun with our praise of the win vs. Wisco. Lets be realistic here. If we have another out of conference loss that will not sit well with the NCAA tourn'y committee. I am nervous of the game at NC State. Plus, if we ever get into this situation again (foul trouble, horrible FT%) against a BE opponent we wont win.

And lets face it we're going to need, I repeat, NEED, to win some games vs teams like @ Villanova or @ Notre Dame. This game against TN was a win and MU blew it. We should be 10-0 without question or second guess.

Hit the panic button. It's very much needed.

JesuitWarrior said...

37% shooting. James can't hit the broad side of a cheese factory. I don't understand the infatuation with James as a leader. He makes mental mistakes all game, every game. He's never been a good shooter, but he certainly isn't shy. He stands and pounds the ball inexplicably in the half court. At least he's athletic as hell.

rugbydrummer said...

I disagree that we _should_ be 10-0. It would be really nice, yes, but given our injuries, it isn't surprising we do not have a pristine record. We haven't been playing like a 10-0 team, that is certain. I think we have a bad habit of playing (sometimes down) to the level of our opponents.

this game showed how much we are hurting from our short short bench, a theme that will be repeated if we can't get fulcer & otule healed and playing quality minutes in the BEAST. There were also some really dumb mistakes made in that game and some calls that weren't well reflected for us. I also didn't like that ESPN didn't show the personal/team fouls very regularly... grrrr

I think the weirdest thing is that despite going on 4 years of playing together, the 3 amigos don't perform together as a well-oiled machine. I just don't get it. 1 or 2 of them + Lazar may have a monster game, but honestly, I thought by this year they would practically be telepathic with each other.

bamamarquette1fan said...

This was the first game I'd seen in person this year, and I was simply agast at the officiating. We were getting knocked all over the court any place we went, and then suddenly getting a ticky tack reaction foul called. It just looked to me like those officials were not going to let us get out of the gym with a W against the only ranked team in the SEC.

While Wes has gone from our 4th best player to a star in one season, I am still a big defender of Dominic. Granted, he does have the occasional real stupid mistake, but trip after trip he was handling intense pressure and they quickly discovered it was a waste of time thinking they could trap him. As for the jumpers he put up - they had some stretches where no one could get free for even a pass, and he just has to shoot in those situations eventually, and as much as I'd rather see him drive, when the officials watches him get mugged on the way to the basket and ends up instead calling a foul and technical on MU, it's awefully hard to blame him for not going to the hoop more often last night.

bamamarquette1fan said...

Sorry to turn this into an essay, but one other note is all the comments I've gotten on Dominic's rejection. I had baited several SEC fans into watching the game, and all I've been getting all day is people in disbelief about Dominic's rejection. People who don't watch MU basketball have been calling it the best play they've seen in ages. I guess I just think Dominic does so many things we take for granted after watching him for 4 years that we focus on an occasional lapse and not the truly amazing things he does from playing the "point guard/center" spot on defense sometimes, to power rejecting a huge 6-foot-9 guy, to incredible one-on-one ball handling and lock down defense. I had several Tennessee fans say things to me after the game like, "if we could trade point guards with you, we could go all teh way."

I still get nervous when he sits down for a breather, and worry he may be one of those guys that fans don't fully appreciate until we can't get the ball down the court against a high pressure defense.

Dominic has the ball in his hands twice as much as anyone else on the court, so you will always be able to point to a mistake.

As for the 3 Amigos not playing that well together, I do agree I've pondered that a lot and just keep hoping its the new coach think in the early stages, and by January they really will know where each other are going all the time.

Gene Frenkle said...

The Big Four have scored 95% of MU's points this year. As for them not playing well together, look at the last three games' top scorers. Each are different (McNeal, Hayward, Matthews). And w/James being more PG oriented this year, that makes total sense. The biggest problem they had vs. Tenn was the foul trouble kept the four of them apart for most of the game.

Let's give them a little credit. If anything, it's the other guys that aren't playing well together that's our big crutch. Because of that, we have to rely solely on the Four for our points.

The pro is that we have more than one or two big scorers so teams have to work hard to truly shut down all of our scoring. The con is, you HAVE to get something from your bench.

Additionally, I think Bilas was rigth the other day in saying expectations on James were a bit unfair after his outstanding Freshman season..and that includes myself. You have a super athletic, smallish PG that caught everyone by storm. After that, people realized he wasn't the best shooter and kept him from the lane more. I do think James has developed into a much better all around player. We all know he still struggles with his shot and makes occassional bad decisions, but for the most part, he's done a great job carrying on our PG tradition from the last 15 years.

Championships Matter said...

Well, after reading the posts, it's apparent that we're all pretty scared about what's coming. And with good reason, because until we have a bench, we're barely a 20 win team.

Tennessee was scarey because we SHOULD have beaten them. Without Chris Lofton, they're mediocre. They may be the only "ranked" team in the SEC, but they're overrated at that.

The Amigos need patience and a commitment to both better free throw shooting and thinking twice about bombing from three-point range. They still take too many ill-considered shots and that's going to kill us more than the inside presence.

Gene Frenkle said...

That's the one area of Buzz that's bugged the shite out of me so far. While I'll give him credit for seemingly making adjustments at halftime, he needs to take the guys by the balls and stop letting them turn the first half of games into three-point-a-thons. We are not built for that...and either a coach or three seniors need to step up and realize that. When the players don't, enter the coach. That's not happening enough. Probably the only consistent complaint I have of Buzz.