Friday, January 2, 2009

Marquette Post Game: Big East Road Games

With less than a minute left in the first half the 'Cats were down by 4 as Dwayne Anderson grabbed a rebound off of Jerel McNeal's missed free throw. He passed to Scottie Reynolds who missed a three, rebounded by Lazar Hayward who in turn passed it to Dom James. Reynolds stole the ball from James with less that 15 seconds on the clock, drove to the basket and dropped in a layup to bring the 'Cats back to down two (32-34). An attempt to drive the lane resulted in a scrum near the free throw line, and as time expired McNeal recovered the ball, turned and released. The ball was in the air as the half-time buzzer sounded. It dropped through the net to push the deficit back out to 4. Even with several 2nd half runs and a tug-of-war over the lead near the mid point of the second half, the Golden Eagles were able to push the 'Cats away and hold them at a 5 to 8 points "arm's length" going into the last minute. Chris over at the IBBW Blog was first to his press with his recap/summary, "Villanova Falls to Marquette 79-72". And posted a brief recap with links, "Villanova 72: :79 Marquette". The Official website posted Mike Sheridan's post game notes (a number of interesting observations/facts, worth a read...). And of course, the box score.

The breakdown by halves...

 Offense Defense

1st They Played Defense, Then They Played Offense...
And Villanova lost both times. As a follow on to my preview note the red highlighted sections in the table (above). The Wildcats needed to keep Marquette's eFG% under 50.0, and they didn't do it in either half. The first half was a defensive struggle as both squads had trouble scoring consistently. Note that while the Golden Eagles were able to hit shots consistently, the 'Cats, by stealing nearly 1 in 5 possessions and forcing the G. Eagles to cough up 1 in 3 possessions (not to mention the 70% defensive rebounding rate...), Nova was able to effectively limit the number of shots Marquette was able to get. The first half pace by the way, was blistering, projected over 2 halves, the game would have given both squads an exhibition-like 81 possessions. Villanova needed to get to the line (and keep Marquette off the line...). The opposite happpened (note the red highlight by FTA/FGA). Marquette was able to make their number on free throw points -- 29.1%, while also having a good afternoon beyond the arc -- 41.7 (good for an eFG% of 62.5%).

1. Corey Fisher has another productive day. The sophomore guard had a 6-14, 8-11 shooting day, good for 21 points. Fisher's PPWS, at 1.09, was a bit lower than his season-long PPWS, and his eFG%, at 46.4% was below that 50.0% number that suggests efficient scoring. He did however drive the lane and get to the line (FTA/FGA was 78.6, suggesting scoring off penetration).
2. For those wondering if Nova punched the ball into the low post to exploit any height advantage, the answer is no. The highest percentage of shots went to Reynolds (29.6), Fisher (29.3) and Stokes (23.0). Cunningham took 21.7% of the shots while he was in, which made him the 3rd/4th scoring option (depending on who else was on the floor). Pena took a marginal 9.9% of the shots.
3. There was a fairly strict division of labor on rebounding. Cunningham, Fisher(!) and Pena took care of the offensive boards, while Anderson, Clark and Cunningham (again) took most of the defensive boards.
4. Dom James and Jerel McNeal have formed a lethal duo for the past two games. In both the NCSU game James & McNeal have registered >30.0% of the shots apiece, while posting eFG%s >=50.0 (mostly in the low 60s).
5. Aside from Jimmy Butler, no one on the Marquette squad distinguished themselves on the offensive boards. Responsibility for the defensive boards seems to have been spread fairly evenly among Lazar Hayward, Dom James, Patrick Hazel and Jimmy Butler.

Ref Notes
Ed Corbett, Tim Higgins and Curtis Shaw were busy all game long. After whistling 19 fouls on the two teams (12 on the 'Cats alone) in the first half, the crew really went to work in the second half. 46 total fouls is not the highest foul total this season, that number is 50, and the "winning" crew is William Bush, John Cahill and (wait for it...wait for it) -- Tim Higgins! Corbett, Shaw and Higgins is the 3rd crew to log 46 fouls in a Wildcat game this season (vs Texas and vs Rhode Island). And 46 is only the 3rd most fouls called this season (50, 48, 46[T3]), but this game is outside of the standard deviation for away games. Among the 13 referees who have run 2 or more Nova games this season Corbett among the least consistent for calling fouls, and Higgins, while one of the more consistent with respect to number of fouls called at his games, is an outlier on fouls called against the Wildcats and free throws for the opposition. The sample, two games, is far too small to make conclusions.


Anonymous said...

Is Higgins the ref that made the call on Stokes at the end of the infamous GU game last season?

greyCat said...

That piece of Villanova History belongs to Bob Donato cmnova04. I wrote about it last season in a post game analysis of the Georgetown game, and then again over the summer when I took a look a referee trends over the past 4 or so seasons.