"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, March 15, 2012

Gardner/Mayo take 12 shots, score 25 points to give MU 3rd and 4th options vs. Murray St.

Marquette and Murray State are two of only 16 teams in the tournament with two top 100 Value Add players, making for a great match-up of the #9 and #11 teams in the country Saturday. The combo of 6-foot-3 senior Donte Poole and 6-foot All-American Isaiah Canaan have often dominated just as DJO and Crowder do for Marquette.

However, most teams that make deep runs have three stars, so the key to surviving Saturday’s class may be who has a third star as an option. The only other Murray State player in the top 500 is their one big man, 6-foot-7 Edward Daniel, who had a very efficient 3 of 4 shooting night to go with 6 rebounds and a Crowder-like 4 steals.

However, the story Thursday was not Crowder being reported as the 2nd player in tournament history to score 25 points, 15+ rebounds and 5 steals (Danny Manning did it against Oklahoma in 1988, but later one of Crowder’s steals was credited to someone else to leave him one short). It was not DJO’s unbelievable ability to take over and get to the hoop despite all the defensive attention. No, we need a third option to win Saturday and to have a chance at a deep run, and both Davante Gardner and Todd Mayo stepped up to volunteer to be that 3rd (and 4th) star.

A quick efficiency measurement is how many points a player scores divided by how many field goals he attempted. On average, for every 2000 field goals taken in NCAA play, teams score 1960 on made field goals (either 3-pointers or 2-pointers) and make 503 of 728 free throws for a total of 2463 points or 1.23 points per shot taken.

The only two Murray State players who averaged more than 1.23 points per shot were two players who took a total of five shots and no free throws between them (Daniel’s 3 of 4 on field goals and Stacy Wilson came in and hit his only trey), while Davante and Mayo joined DJO and Crowder in accomplishing the feat.

Natl Ave  1.23

Of course, they did it in different ways. In the final 8 minutes with BYU making runs, Mayo hit all three of his shots – including two treys and breaking away for a dunk. He added 5 rebounds and 2 steals in the final 15 minutes of play. For the day, 3 of 5 shooting including 2 of 3 treys, and 2 of 5 free throws to go with 6 rebounds, 2 steals and 2 assists.

The first three times Gardner grabbed an offensive rebound, he was fouled every time. The first two times he made both free throws, and the final time he made the bucket while being fouled and the free throw to come away with 7 points off three offensive rebounds. A final day of 4 of 7 from the floor and 7 of 8 from the line to go along with 6 rebounds and 2 assists.

As for the initial report that Crowder had matched Manning as the only player in the 72 years of the tournament to get 25 points, 15 rebounds and 5 steals – while he turned out to fall one steal short, it was yet another amazing night. Crowder actually shot better due to the three treys, and had more assists, while Manning got to the line better, and had 2 more rebounds and blocked shots.

They didn’t keep track of individual turnovers then, so we don’t know if Manning possibly could have matched Crowder’s incredible 1 turnover performance. The fact that you can even compare Crowder’s performance today to a performance that resulted in Manning being named the “Miracle Man” for single-handedly beating Oklahoma shows you just how dominant he continues to be and why two All-American recognitions have already been awarded him.

 1988 v. OU2012 v. BYU
FGM-Att13 of 2410 of 20
3ptM-Att0 of 13 of 6
FTM-Att5 of 72 of 2

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