Sunday, November 26, 2006

Idaho State

A quick note tonight to recap the Aggies game on Saturday afternoon against Idaho State.

The good guys were able to take care of their business and beat Idaho State 74-44 in front of a holiday weekend crowd of 5,777 on Saturday afternoon. (With the kids on vacation for Thanksgiving weekend there were probably fewer than 100 students in attendance.)

This was quite possibly one of the most bizarre 30 point victories I have ever seen. I told a couple of you guys yesterday that I was having a hard time making the math add up. It was just a strange afternoon on a few accounts.

First, Idaho State could not buy a bucket all afternoon. They only made 15 field goals on 52 attempts (28.8%).

It was not necessarily a case of the Aggies playing great pressure defense (only forced 12 turnovers) more-so than it was a case of ISU just not being able to knock down any shots. They had plenty of wide open looks; they just could not get anything to fall.

Second, ISU threw one of the most aggressive collapsing zones anyone has thrown at the Aggies in a couple of years. They set up in a 3-2 zone from the opening tip and only played a handful of man-to-man possessions the entire game.

The biggest difference in the ISU zone approach and that of other team’s approach was that there were never fewer than 3 people crowding the lane at all times on Saturday. I have not seen anyone sell out to the interior to the extreme that ISU did all afternoon.

Credit to ISU coach Joe O’Brien for sticking to his gameplan. His team held Joseph Jones, Antanas Kavaliauskas, and Bryan Davis to absolutely horrible performances.

The three big men combined to go 3 for 9 on the day with Big Joe fouling out and only having 1 point from the free throw line. The 1 point performance from Joe was far and away his worst performance in a long time.

Coach Gillispie, ever the teacher said “Joseph Jones, Antanas Kavaliauskas, and Bryan Davis have got to be better, combining for eight points is not going to get it done. With as many touches as they get, they have to score baskets. But they took the play that was presented to them and you have to applaud them for that.”

Alright, enough with the “bad”, let’s talk some of the “good”.

Acie Law and Josh Carter were phenomenal all afternoon.

Acie had a great game running the show and was able to not only get a few good looks on the outside, he did a nice job of finding holes in the ISU zone to create some mid-range looks for himself.
When it was said and done, Acie chipped in 22 points on 9 of 14 shooting and added 9 assists. Of his 9 makes, 8 of them were of the two point variety.

Breaking down his 9 assists, 6 of them were to Josh Carter and 7 of them were assists on three point buckets.

What the 22 and 9 tells you is that Acie was doing two things running the point.

One, he was getting penetration into the zone, drawing the defense, and kicking out to the open man on the perimeter.

Two, he was getting penetration into the zone and being left open to shoot the ball as the defense was concerned with the before mentioned perimeter players.

Josh Carter also had himself a career and record-tying day.

Josh had a career high 26 points on 9 of 11 shooting including a school-record-tying 8 three point buckets. (He tied the record held by Bernard King and everyone’s favorite McDonald’s All-American - Jerald Brown).

His one basket that was not a three, was a pretty nasty ally-oop from Dominique Kirk, a play in which Josh snuck behind the zone along the baseline and elevated up and killed it.

Again, Gillispie, the perfectionist had this to say about Josh’s afternoon. “I'm never concerned with Josh shooting the ball. I just hope he gives himself a chance to play enough to shoot it by guarding somebody.”

I guess coach would like to see a little more out of Josh on the defensive end of the floor.

Uhhhhh. Ok coach. You’re the boss.

Coach O’Brien was certainly impressed in saying, “We didn't think they wanted to or could shoot the 3 very well. We have a different opinion now. Josh Carter was phenomenal.”

Anyway – It was a very bizarre afternoon as everyone except Acie and Josh looked very-very average and the team as a whole looked a step slow on both ends of the floor.

All of that being said, they still beat a half-decent Idaho State team by 30.

Again – Something just seems to be missing, but I’m not sure what. Perhaps I’m being too critical.

The flow of the game was pretty basic and followed most of what we talked about up above. Lots of Josh Carter and Acie Law coupled with lots of misses from ISU.

Idaho State jumped out to a 6-3 lead before the Aggies reeled off a 20-1 run to take a commanding 23-7 advantage. Idaho State managed to score the last 8 points before the half and cut the Aggie lead to 37-24 at halftime.

Out of the break, the Aggies jumped on the Bengals with a 14-3 run to go ahead 51-27 and they never looked back from there in route to the 74-44 win.

Some quick hits:

- Bryan Davis played 22 minutes, taking quite a few minutes from both Joe and Antanas. Bryan has a long way to go, but it is great to see him get meaningful minutes. He is very athletic and will be a special player when it is all said and done.

- Donald Sloan also played 18 minutes. Donald, along with Logan Lee (10 minutes) and Davis (see above) made up the primary 8 man rotation on the day.

- Junior Elonu did not see the floor and Derrick Roland only played 1 minute (late in the game).

- Marlon Pompey (stress fracture) is off of his crutches but was walking quite slow with a very noticeable limp.

- The Aggies shot a red-hot 62% (28-45) on the game.

Looking Ahead

The Aggies host Arkansas-Little Rock on Monday. I don’t know much about UA-LR other than the fact that they were picked to finish first in the Sun Belt’s western division by the leagues coaches’ in the preseason poll.

They have played two other brand name schools in losing to Texas Tech 93-59 and Tulsa 66-60; both games were on the road.

We will be going up for the game and hopefully we’ll have a little more conventional 30 point win to talk about on Tuesday.

Brand New Cheap Promotional Ploy

We will be unable to make the game vs. Pacific on Saturday (2:00) this week if you are interested in buying our tickets, please let me know by Tuesday afternoon.

Carry on.


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