Monday, December 21, 2009

Guest Contributor Ray Floriani: A Day at the IZOD, A Night at MSG

by Ray Floriani

NEW YORK CITY - In between shoveling some of nature’s beauty there were a few games of note. First Villanova-Fordham from the Izod Center. Interestigly, Villanova was a charter member of the Eastern Eight which later became the Atlantic Ten, where Fordham currently resides.

In the late Eighties- early Nineties Martin Manley wrote a few statistical analysis books, “basketball Heaven’ was one and his work centered on the NBA. Today Manley has a stat column and blog ’Upon Further Review’ which is run by a Kansas City paper.

Manley likes to cite, among other things, a breakdown of items ‘not in the box score’. These are important items which do show up on the statistical sheet circulated at games and give us added insight. The following is the ‘not in the box score’breakdown for Villanova’s 96-58 victory.


Part of Villanova’s dominance in the lane centered around the fine work of Antonio Pena (17 points 7 rebounds). Fordham just did not have an answer for Pena’s moves once he received a pass in the low post. The 52-12 paint advantage was also due to s significant extent from points scored in transition and off turnovers. Simply, fast breaks , especially those generated by steals and deflections often wind up with layups. So Villanova scored almost five times as much as Fordham in the lane. But it was not always from a half court offensive set.

The efficiency numbers of Villanova‘s three scoring leaders and Chris Gaston who paced Fordham.

Antonio Pena, VU1721
Scottie Reynolds, VU1718
Corey Fisher, VU1724
Chris Gaston, Ford.126

On Sunday the Holiday Festival tipped off noon at Madison Square Garden. Cornell and Davidson put on a show with the Ivy League representatives winning 91-88 in overtime. The last few seconds of OT alone provided drama. With 16 seconds left and Cornell leading by one the Big Red’s Louis Dale missed two free throws. 6.6 seconds remain when Dale is called for a reaching foul. Davidson’s JP Kuhlman hits the first but misses the second. Cornell rebounds gets the ball out to Ryan Wittman who launches a distant three at the buzzer. Nothing but net.

The games was 75 possessions with the efficiency and four factors as noted...


Newman led all scorers with 29 points while Jake Cohen paced Davison with 18. Numbers were almost identical. Cornell was a little more productive from the line simply because the hit 12 of 15 as opposed to Davidson’s 8 of 15. Both clubs cared for the ball in exemplary fashion. Cornell coach Steve Donahue made that a point saying “both teams executed and played the game the right way.” Donahue also noted the two teams had identical 21 assists 11 turnovers. And ads Donahue said,” it was a shame someone had to lose.”

In the second game St.John’s made a late game 12-0 run to post a come from behind 72-60 victory over Hofstra. Red Storm coach Norm Roberts and several of his players were hard pressed to pinpoint what triggered the run but suffice to say, it was a game breaker. The numbers in a game that saw 73 possessions for Hofstra and 74 for St.John’s.


A year ago this could have been the game St.John’s loses. They got off to an early lead, surrendered it and allowed Hofstra to take a 6 point lead midway through the final half. Down the stretch, St.John’s toughened on defense and stopped shooting jump shots, making a concerted effort to attack the basket.

Turnover rates on both sides were very good. Hofstra coach Tom Pecora puts a lot of emphasis on getting to the line and rebounding. As Pecora pointed out and the tempo free breakdown shows, these are areas Hofstra was deficient in. Overall St.John’s had a 53-41 rebounding advantage.

Charles Jenkins led all scorers with 24 points. Pecora noted “Charles is a good enough player to score 24 and not have a really good game, he had five turnovers.“ Freshman guard Chaz Williams was solid with 14 points 7 assists. He got in foul trouble in the latter part of the game. Still, Pecora feels that did not decide the outcome.” The foul trouble (with Williams) hurt,” Pecora said. “But they defended and out toughed us. That’s what won.”

Another significant note for St.John’s was off the bench contributions from 6-7 Jr Justin Brownlee (10 points 13 rebs) and 17 points from junior guard Dwight Hardy. D.J. Kennedy led St.John’s with 19 points while adding 15 boards.

“This was a big win for us . With this win I think it shows we are headed in the right direction.” - D.J. Kennedy of St.John’s

“Now we get to play probably the best 2-7 (actually 3-8) team in the country in Davidson.” - Hofstra coach Tom Pecora

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