Thursday, February 12, 2009

Marquette #02 Post Game: Gimme an O!

The Wildcats extended their Pavilion-based winning streak to 26 tonight as they downed the Warriors of Marquette University, 102-84. The ESPN recap says the 'Cats Spanked Marquette. I am frankly at a bit of a loss to describe the game. I watched it and have looked over the box score and I don't quite know how to describe the 18 point margin of victory that the 'Cats just posted. Marquette is a good team that matches up well with Villanova. They are lightening quick & when they shoot the lights out they are unstoppable. I know this because I have watched more than a few Marquette games this season. So ESPN's Dana Pennet O'Neil, in her Instant Analysis, said the game was won "in a blur".

The breakdown by halves...

 Offense Defense

Halftime Adjustments...
The 1st half started badly as the Golden Eagles hit back-to-back 3s to start the game. After a brief back-and-forth, the Eagles hit a 20-11 run to go up 32-27 on the Wildcats. The 'Cats closed out the half with a 23-13 run to go up by 5 (50-45) going into the locker room. For the Nova Nation there were many things, mostly on the offensive side of the ball, to like -- the 'Cats were hitting their shots, limiting their turnovers. If their offensive rebounding was not up to standard, it was not terrible either. About the only area of concern was free throws, but the Eagles were not hitting their FTs, so the two squads nearly negated the other on the line. The defensive side of the ball however, was a mixed bag. If the Eagles were shooting the lights out, they were not rebounding, giving up the ball, and not getting to the line as frequently as anticipated. As a follow on to the keys to the game portion of the 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. Marquette was unable to supplement their long range shooting with trips to the line -- a good sign for the 'Cats.

The 2nd half may not have been quite to Nova's standards foro defense, it nevertheless reflected a number of adjustments installed at the half. The 'Cats contested the Eagles shooting much better, on both 2 and 3 point attempts (but much better on the 3s), slicing the Eagles' conversion rate by 17%. Coupled with an even tighter grip on their defensive boards (something of a shock to Marquette, which usually rebounds about 35+% of their misses), reducing their second chances to 10.5% of the Eagles' misses, forced a major reduction in Marquette's offensive efficiency. If the Warriors had difficulty keeping up with the 'Cats in the 1st half, they lost contact completely in the 2nd half, dropping behind by nearly 20 several times. If Villanova could not keep Marquette off the line, the Warriors did not help themselves by converting at a <60% rate.

1. The seniors, Dwayne Anderson and Shane Clark are on a tear. The two played a combined 39 minutes last night, scoring 26 points and nabbing 10 rebounds. They dished 4 assists, committed a single turnover and blocked a shot. Nice way to fill a perceived void in the frontcourt. Shane individually had a supurb game, posting an eFG% of 125.0 (extremely rare, due in large measure to his perfect 6-6 from the field) and equally extraordinary 2.30 PPWS.
2. Scottie Reynolds posted a balanced 27 points in 35 minutes of play. Reynolds sank 4 of 9 FGAs (2 from beyond the arc) to post 11 points in the 1st half. He added another 16 in the 2nd half on 6 of 8 shooting (3 3 pointers). He posted a 73.5 eFG% and a 1.39 PPWS, both strong indications of very efficient scoring. Scottie also had 4 rebounds and an assist.
3. Corey Fisher is really coming on. He scored 21 points in 6-10 shooting (4-6 from beyond the arc) to post an eFG% of 80.0 and a PPWS of 1.58, both outstanding efforts.
4. The Wildcat's offense went through Reynolds (30% of the available shots), then Cunningham (23%), the Anderson/Clark duo (about 20%) and then Fisher (20%) -- not a bad set of scoring threats. Combined they hit 64.7% of their shots. Tough to win against those numbers.
5. In the 1st Marquette post game I noted that James and McNeal provided 30% of the FGAs when they were on the floor with individual eFG%s of >50.0. The 'Cats shut McNeal down. The Marquette guard took 37% of the shots when he was on the floor, but could convert with only a 47.5 eFG%. Junior Lazar Hayward combined with Dominic James to provide solid 2nd and 3rd option scoring. They posted an eFG% of 62.5 and 63.6 respectively. McNeal, on his way to breaking Marquette's 40 year old scoring record (George Thompson, 1,773 points), McNeal seemed more like the player from 1 or 2 seasons ago, rather than the efficient scorer that emerged at the end of last season, and continued to progress this season. Congratulations to Jerel on breaking the record.
6. Reggie Redding stepped back from scoring to dish 6 assists (and 4 turnovers...), grabbed 6 rebounds to go with his block and steal.

Ref Notes
Given the foul fests of the past 2-3 games, this game's crew Jeff Clark, John Gaffney & Karl Hess were almost restrained with their whistles. "Only" 44 total fouls called suggests everyone behaved themselves, except for the double technicals called on Antonio Pena and Lazar Hayward about 5 minutes into the second half. To credit the zebras, the play was getting pretty intense as the 'Cats were holding onto a 10 point lead with the Warriors charging hard to close the gap. Play had stopped when Antonio put a hard (but clean) foul Jimmy Butler to prevent an uncontested putback. The squads had been simmering for most of the game, but the boil started as Pena walked through the Marquette squad to get to the 'Cats assembling at the key. A look at the body language of both squads had the refs blowing whistles and Scottie and another Wildcat stepping between bodies and escorting Tone out of harm's way. The fouls continued as the game, by it's nature, was physical, but the focus was back on the game. The crew and senior leades of both squads defused what could have become an ugly incident. Marquette's FTAs, at 27, was right at the high edge. Had they hit a few more of their free throws (they shot a very ugly 55.6%) they would have broken through the standard deviation.

Roster Report
Senior Dwayne Anderson left the game in the first half with what appeared to be a knee injury. He later returned to the bench with his left knee wrapped with an ice pack. Speculation over the seriousness of the injury stopped when Villanova announced an MRI revealed that the knee had been hyperextended and had suffered a bone bruise. Anderson is not expected to play Friday against West Virginia, and will be evaluated day-to-day as the condition of his knee will be monitored. Speediest of recoveries Dwayne.

Tim over at Nova News Blog posted an early recap with comments about most of the players.
Pete provides player grades over at Let's Go Nova.
The NBE Blogger posted a game recap.
Chris over at posted a good recap with thoughts about each player.


Rob Lowe said...

Hey Greycat, just thought you might be interested in the CS response to "ESPN Interactive Tuesday". Thought that maybe the 'Nova bloggers might want to help join the drumbeat.

Nice recap, as always...

Villanova Viewpoint Publisher said...

Hello, greyCat-

As always, your quantitative analysis is impeccable. I thought that the point about how Marquette encountered a lot of trouble in reaching the foul line was good, particularly in light of the fact that even when they did get there, they didn't shoot particularly well. (Of course, neither did we, and you're accurate in noting that both team's struggles on the line essentially cancelled each other out.)

Keep it up... and thanks for the gracious post per my own site...

Go Wildcats!