Thursday, January 14, 2010

Guest Contributor Ray Floriani: MSG Double Header

by Ray Floriani

NEW YORK CITY - St.John’s broke into the Big East win column with a 52-50 victory over Cincinnati at Madison Square Garden. In the nightcap of the doubleheader, Dayton defeated Fordham 74-58 in an Atlantic Ten matchup.

The efficiency and factors in a 63 possession game.



Cincinnati is athletic but did not look to run, press and do anything similar to push the pace. They are a team with good size that is comfortable in the half court setting. The Bearcats’ size allowed them to enjoy a note worthy rebounding edge on the offensive glass. They had a 42-30 overall margin in the rebounding department. They also had a 34-24 scoring advantage in points in the paint.

St.John’s capitalized on turnovers. They forced the opposition into a high TO rate (21 overall) and on the evening outscored Cincinnati 20-10 on points off turnovers. Neither team shot very well but St.John’s did hit five three pointers (5 of 19 for 26%) while Cincinnati was a goose egg, 0 for 12 on the night.

Cincinnati had a three point lead with under 20 seconds to play. On two straight possessions they threw the ball away. Following those turnovers they fouled a jump shooter both times. Dwight Hardy of St.John’s went to the line both times and converted to make the difference. On Cincinnati’s final possession, down two, they opted for a three point attempt despite not hitting one all night.

Hardy led all scorers with 19 points. Cincinnati was paced by sophomore forward Yancy Gates with 12 points. Lance Stephenson the highly touted freshman from Cincinnati returned home and had a less than spectacular outing, 7 points in 37 minutes.

St.John’s bench had a 39-16 scoring edge, largely due to Hardy’s 19 points. Red Storm is 11-5 (1-3 Big East) while Cincinnati falls to 11-6 (2-3).

"Every time you win at the Garden it’s awesome. Every time you win a Big East game it’s awesome because it’s hard. Very, very hard." - St. John’s coach Norm Roberts

Dayton at Fordham
The second game saw a low 70 pace, Dayton (71) and Fordham (70) possessions.



With turnover and rebounding rates relatively close the field goal shooting went a long way toward determining overall efficiency in this contest. Dayton actually attempted more threes than Fordham but the Flyers took care of business in the paint. Dayton was 8 of 20 from three (40%) and 22 of 38 (57%) from two point range. Fordham Shot 6 of 17 (35%) beyond the arc and was 11 of 34 (32%) from two point range.

Dayton depth and experience were evident as they not only had a 37-13 edge in bench scoring but ten players played at least 10 minutes. The Flyers have a deep rotation especially at the guard spot.

Fordham was competitive and it was a one possession game with 16 minutes to go. Dayton then went on a run and was never challenged. Again, the product of not just having talent but veteran players as well.

Free throw rate was deceptive. Fordham shot 26 (18 of 26) free throws to Dayton’s 11 (6 of 11) . Again it wasn’t due to Fordham getting inside that much. Count it more in the area of Dayton getting a little sloppy and committing careless fouls with the issue well at hand.

Brenton Butler of Fordham led all scorers with 20 points. Chris Gaston and Alberto Estwick added 10 each. Dayton had three players in double figures led by sophomore forward Luke Fabrizius who came off the bench to score 13 points. Once again the depth factor.

The first minute. Always shot chart every game but after Ken Pom’s article in Basketball Prospectus regarding the first minute, I am starting to break down those initial 60 seconds. In the Dayton- Fordham game the first minute went as follows:

1. Dayton 1st possession - three point field goal by Chris Johnson.
2. Fordham turnover.
3. Dayton fouled on transition layup attempt , both free throws made.
4. Fordham begins possession, minute ends -- Dayton 5, Fordham 0

Lawrence Frank sighting.
Had a chance to meet and talk with the former NJ Nets coach who had a front row seat behind the Cincy and Dayton benches. We discussed officiating and youth basketball. I am a big proponent of having youth teams only press on a limited basis. Let them learn half court and fundamentals first. Frank shares the same opinion and added how too many young players , on defense, are taught to locate the offense with their bodies rather than getting to a space. A very interesting 10 minute chat.

Dayton is 13-3 (2-0 A-10) while Fordham falls to (2-13, 0-3).

“We are getting there. I think we are playing hard even at the end of a game.” - Fordham interim coach Jared Grasso

“It was a great opportunity to play in Madison Square Garden. It’s something we talked about all week long.” - Dayton coach Brian Gregory


Shawn Layton said...

As one of the big east bloggers to inspire me to join the fun, would you be interested in giving me a shout or adding my spot to your blog list? Check me out at


greyCat said...

Shawn -- Done! And best of luck with the blog.