Sunday, January 3, 2010

Marquette Post Game: Senior Leadership

Alpha & Omega
For Isaiah Armwood, Dom Cheek, Taylor King, Maurice Sutton and Maalik Wayns, this was their first trip to Milwaukee (and Marquette's Bradley Center). In the dead of winter no less. The newbies logged a collective 68 minutes (35% of the available minutes), took 18 shots (30%) and scored 28 of the team's 74 points (37.8%). But the last 2 minutes belonged to the seniors, specifically Scottie Reynolds and Reggie Redding. Reynolds scored 23 points, the 6th time in 13 games he has scored more than 20 points in a game, while Redding scored 11, his 3rd consecutive double digit game since returning from his suspension. Down 2 at the 2:19 mark (Marquette had gone up by 2 at 4:12, each team logged 3 scoreless possessions...), Reggie Redding stepped to the line and hit 2 free throws to tie the game. Jimmy Butler countered with 2 free throws of his own on a Taylor King foul. The war of nerves continued with Redding countering with 2 more free throws at the 0:56 mark. Then Marquette blinked. All Big East candidate Lazar Hayward missed the front-end of a 2 free throw sequence, but hit the 2nd shot, putting the Warriors up by 1 again. Scottie Reynolds brought the ball up and hit a jumper at 0:18. Scottie missed the and-one; Marquette's Jimmy Butler missed a jumper and Reggie was fouled while securing the rebound. Though Reggie missed the 2nd free throw, his 1st put the 'Cats up by 2 (74-72), and handed Marquette 3.3 seconds to make a miracle. The Golden Eagles' play took too long to develop, giving Villanova a win in their 1st Big East game, and a valuable road win, one they could not secure under similar circumstances last season. Between them, the 2 seniors scored Villanova's last 7 points, 5 of them at the line. They went 5-6 from the charity stripe with the game on the line.

The official web site has AP wire story and the box score. The breakdown by halves...

 Offense Defense

Half-time Adjustments
The Wildcats shut down the inside in the 1st half, but Marquette hit their 3s at a 38% clip (equivalent to about 58% for 2 point shots), as the 1st half played much like a typical motion offense chess match. Each team played for 30-31 possessions, low by D1 standards this season, and well below Pomeroy's anticipated 36 possessions (estimated as ½ of the 72 possessions calculated for the entire game). Villanova adjusted to contest the outside shot, but opened up the inside. In a statistical day-and-night sequence, Marquette hit everything (practically) inside the arc, but could not convert efficiently from beyond the 3 point line. Marquette's point distribution went from 40% 3 pointers and 15% free throws to 40% free throws and 16% 3 pointers. Possessions per side increased to 35-36 per side, consistent with Pomeroy's projection. Offensively, the 'Cats went inside the entire game, exploiting their height/size advantage between the two front court contingents, and the relative speed and athleticism of their guards. The points in the paint difference was 44-18, clearly an indication the 'Cats held and pushed the advantage.

Notes & Observations
1. Scottie Reynolds took 27% of the shots when he was on the court, nothing unusual for the senior. Corey Fisher logged only 21 minutes in the game, taking about 20% of the shots when he was on the court. Maalik Wayns and Reggie Redding, like Fisher, logged about 20% of the shots, making themselves a collective 2/3 option on the offense. The front court (Pena, King, Armwood) stepped back to a 15-19% shot role.
2. Scottie Reynolds scored 23 points, the 6th time this season he has logged points > 20. Through 13 games in 2009, Scottie had 20+ points only twice, 18+ only twice more.
3. The staff ran the starters for about 66% of the time. Normally that would suggest a rather large scoring margin favoring the Wildcats. That makes the size of the rotation and starter minutes logged a bit unusual -- the rotation should have been shorter (it was 10, 8 logging double-digit minutes and 1 getting 7), and the starter minutes a larger portion of the total minutes available (>70%). The staff may be developing a strategy for running more players through the game without compromising the quality of play. A larger rotation should help later in the season (when the players are a bit ground down from the schedule).
4. The 'Cats held Lazar Hayward to 17 points, about 2.5 point under his season average. Jimmy Butler scored 19 points, about 4 above his average for the season. What they were able to do was put Darius Johnson-Odom on the bench for much of the 2nd half. Johnson logged 2 fouls in the 1st half, limiting his minutes before the intermission. He took the next 2 whistles before the 14 minute mark of the 2nd half, the staff thought it wise to sit him rather than lose him too early. Johnson-Odom came back into the game at the 3:53 mark and played for another 3½ minutes before fouling out.
5. Mouphtaou Yarou did not play, despite his medical clearance. No word (from the game announcers) as to when he would make an appearance.

Ref Notes
Jeff Clark, Tim Clougherty and Ed Corbett comprised the reffing crew. The "C" team seemed to go a bit light on the whistles, stopping play 39 times. That is just below (by 1 or 2 fouls) from the average for road games. Each has run at least 1 other game this season. The Wildcats are a collective 7-0 when one of these guys has been in the crew this season.

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