Thursday, January 20, 2011

Guest Contributor Ray Floriani: St. Louis at Fordham

by Ray Floriani
EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - St. Louis was dominant the last ten minutes of the game. The Billikens pulled away in the stretch defeating Fordham 68-55 at the Izod Center on Wednesday.

Pre-game officials and captains conference.
Officials are (l-R) Mike Roberts, Joe DeMayo and John Gwynn

The efficiency numbers:

St. Louis7196

St. Louis opts for a low sixties tempo. Fordham coach Tom Pecora decided to speed them up. Mission accomplished. Fordham used 'blitzes', traps and some full court pressure to speed the game up. "Sometimes you get turnovers," Pecora said. "Even if they do not turn it over they may rush and take a quick shot. At any rate the faster pace gives us more possessions."

The Four Factors:

St. Louis56272327

Game action

The Rundowns:
St. Louis
Coach Rick Majerus immediately addressed the turnovers. Interestingly, a good deal of the TOs (19) did not come from Fordham pressure. "We had about seven turnovers that were offensive fouls," Majerus said, "such as illegal screens."…The eFG mark was very impressive given 41% of their field goal attempts were from beyond the arc. Their three point percentage was an impressive 45% (9 of 20). Good, fast ball movement and the Rams' inability to close out on several possessions, gave the Billikens a number of good looks. Cody Ellis (3 of 4) on the game proved to be the deadliest shooter from beyond the arc. St. Louis 'lost' the free throw rate category. Chalk it up to some overly aggressive defense which is not always a negative. St. Louis was whistled for 30 personals to Fordham's 22. A number of the Fordham free throws were attempted in the stretch with the outcome virtually decided.

The St. Louis huddle
before start of the second half

If it was a high school game of 32 minutes the Rams would probably have an A-10 win or two. The Rams actually took a 40-39 lead just before the ten minute mark. Alas, the game is 40 minutes. As Tom Pecora said it is a recurring theme. "We are right there for 30 minutes," he said, 'then fatigue sets in we get breakdowns. Teams get separation on us now down the stretch we are playing catch up..." Guard play is another concern. Chris Gaston did his part with 24 points, almost completely responsible for a 22-20 Fordham edge on points in the paint. Four primary guards Brandon Frazier, Lamount Samuel, Alberto Estwick and Brenton Butler combined for 27 points on 5 of 24 shooting. Pecoca made it a point to mention guard play must improve. "A lot of our younger guards did not realize the physicality of the Atlantic Ten," the Fordham mentor said…Free throw rate was a positive. Taking the made free throws divided by field goal attempts showed Fordham utilized opportunities from the charity strip as they were 26 of 32 from the floor…Rams had seven field goals the second half. The shot chart revealed every one by Gaston and six in the paint, the other on the right block just outside the lane.

St. Louis is 7-11 (2-3 in the Atlantic Ten). Fordham is 6-10 (0-4) and has lost four straight. Chris Gaston was the game pacesetter in scoring with 24 points and rebounding (10). Kyle Cassity led St. Louis with 13 points. Freshman forward Dwayne Evans had a nice 12 point 8 board effort for St. Louis. The Billikens blocked two shots. A surprising one was by 6-1 guard Jordan Jett who rejected at attempt by Gaston in the paint. Rams next Izod date is February 13th against St. Joe's.

Exiting the Izod Center

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