We’re Kickin’ It Old School…

If you believe you are a basketball purist, whatever that means, then you enjoyed last night’s Hofstra victory over Old Dominion. It wasn’t a wild, up-and-down track meet, and it didn’t feature 473 three-point attempts, and after great plays the players responded with a fist pump or two and then moved on to the next play. The game was decidedly preen free.

Two very good coaches in a legit chess match, urging their teams to play even harder, if that is possible, is always fun.

The first possession of the second half was all you needed to see. Trailing 28-19 at the break, ODU inbounded with two specific needs: score to get the game closer, but also to score in a manner that set a tone.

So what did Blaine Taylor call? Isolate one side of the floor, have Gerald Lee put his ample backside on the defender, and have Darius James bounce the ball into Lee in the post. It is more basic than the pick-and-roll. It is “inside-out” basketball at its finest, and Lee scored.

However Hofstra, who played the entire game with a fire you rarely see for 40 minutes anymore, responded in kind and never let the Monarchs closer than four points the rest of the way.

The game featured a point guard who had seven assists and seven turnovers; the best player continuing to Chuck it up there despite misfiring at a rate of the national debt, and a three-point specialist doing his thing (triple triples for Ziggy). Heck, Darren Townes played an actual forward position, not a point forward or whatever muckety-mucks keep trying to call a big guy that can handle the basketball.

Townes received the ball 10-15 feet from the hoop all night and made a handful of power moves, scoring 10 points–his first foray into double figures this season. He added seven rebounds and four blocks. Mo Lucas, anyone?

And it wasn’t just Hofstra looking all old school. ODU fed Lee and had Ben Finney running through screens and through the lane. ODU played remarkably efficient basketball, committing only eight turnovers. I haven’t seen postgame quotes, but I’m wagering Blaine Taylor said something along the lines of taking your hat off to the other guy, or grapefruit juice in the Phillipines, or something that admits that every now and then, the other guy did well.

It was fun basketball to watch, if you love basketball. We even got to see a rarity. On the last possession of the first half, ODU went to a 1-4 set and allowed Gerald Lee, their center, to make a play. You know, like a point guard. Lee dribbled into the lane, drew a double team, and hit an open teammate for an uncontested three. The shot didn’t fall, but the play worked to perfection.

That kind of summed up the evening for ODU, who was held to 27.5% shooting. We’ve spoken all season about the ironically underrated stat of shooting percentage. ODU did a lot of things right but didn’t finish the job. Also, the game featured the conference’s top two rebounding teams (ODU +6.9 and Hofstra +6.1) and Hofstra won the battle by nine (48-39).

Lee led ODU with 20 points and Keyon Carter looked awfully solid all night, chipping in 15 of his own. After you factor in Darius James’s eight points,  the rest of the Monarchs team combined for only eight points on 2-28 shooting from the floor.

If this game is any indication, I repeat for the 40th time, because some of you are knuckleheads, you need to get to the tourney.

One question, Tom Pecora: where was Corny?

***

Other games coming shortly…

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~ by mglitos on February 11, 2009.

One Response to “We’re Kickin’ It Old School…”

  1. The one interesting stat of the game that wasn’t mentioned above (if it was, blame my ADD) – The Dutch had 13 blocks from 7 players. That’s almost unheard of these days.

    Mind you, these weren’t the Shawn James swats from the weak side that he would get when playing for NU. These were the result (IMO) of Hofstra’s defensive intensity forcing ODU to alter their shots a bit – and some were pure hustle and effort on the side of the Pride.

    It seemed like when ODU would penetrate there were 7 players, 2 cheerleaders, and Speedy Claxton there to suffocate the ODU ballhandler, which led to the blocks.

    One thing that bothered me – LOTS of empty seats on Lawng Eyeland last night.

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