Thursday, November 16, 2006

Hoops - Jackets Take Down Ga St, Move to 3-0

Another night and another solid outing for the Jackets as they beat Georgia State 103-74, just missing their 3rd straight 30+ point margin of victory. Honestly, I only see one real valid criticism of the team through three games - free throw shooting. They were 50% tonight and not a lot better the previous two games. Bottom-line - this will cost us some games this season if it doesn't improve. Having said that, is it just me or does it seem like Jacket teams are always doomed to struggle from the stripe. It's probably the one thing that is the hardest to improve.

The Jackets started a little sluggish but went on a 19-0 run to extend to an 24-8 lead. Then they slowly grew the lead as much as 41 points in the 2nd half before backing off and ending with a 29 point victory.

DEFENSE....... B
GA ST shot 43% overall and 29% from 3pt range. The Jackets were very active defensively, forcing 20 turnovers, 15 of which came on steals. That is an impressive number. They scored 28 points on turnovers. I was impressed with the effort of the entire team, particularly in the 1st half. Things got a little lose again in the 2nd half and GA ST shot 46% in the 2nd half, by far the highest number given up so far.......... Ga St did get to shoot 36 free throws, which was partially a result of the aggressive defensive effort, but that's ok in my book........... Now, one thing I always like is to look and see who filled up the stat sheet. Who was the guy who didn't stand out but just seemed to involved in some way all the time. Tonight I'm giving the aware to Mouhammad Faye, who had 8 pts (3-7), 4 boards, 1 block, 5 assists, 3 steals and only 1 turnover. Nice going Muha.

Tech had a slight rebounding edge 35-33, including 12-10 on the glass. Thanks to my astute readers, I'll give you a more insightful stat - rebounding efficiency. "OR" below is Offensive Rebounding efficiency, which says what percentage of the time the Jackets grabbed their own miss........... "DR" is how many times they grabbed an opponent's miss and prevented them from getting on offensive board.......

Rebounding Efficiency
Ga St..............OR 37.5%....... DR 79.3%
Jackson St.....OR 52.4%....... DR 70.3%
Elon................OR 54.8%....... DR 73.7%

So tonight the Jackets did not get on the offensive glass as much as they did in the first two games but protected the defensive glass more effectively. So how do you like this way to look at rebounding?

OFFENSE............ A
Hard to knock anything here. They put another 5 guys in double figures. They shot 56% overall and 54% from long distance. The team had 30 assists on 41 baskets with only 10 turnovers - THAT is very impressive. Nice ball movement and once again - many easy baskets. Things should get very interesting with better competition, but you have to like what you see of the offense so far. There are no shortage of options from inside and out and these guys do finish................ Here's the head scratcher - they shot better from 3 pt range (54%) than they did from the charity stripe (50%). and for the year the team is shooting 58%. That ain't gonna get it boys......Uuuuggghhhh.......... Honestly, this is the only real criticism of this team I can see at this point. And since free throws are one of those weird mental things, it's not a "practice makes perfect" scenario.


Once again, too many to mention. Lewis Clinch led the way 20 pts on 8-9 shooting. Now, Clinch is 21/29 on the year. That's 72.4% on the year. I think "on fire" is a safe way to characterize his performance to date. He is really showing what many Tech fans thought he was capable of last season before getting hurt early. Really amazing. A-Mo, not sure you're getting your starting position back at this point. Having said that A-Mo was scrapping inside tonight and grabbed 5 boards (2 off) and scored 10 pts............. Javaris Crittenton, with the keys to the Ferrari, drove it well. Tonight he had 18 pts on 7-12, including 3-3 from long distance. More importantly he had 9 assists and only 3 turnovers. That's a 3:1 ratio and a stat the you love to see. Oh yeah, throw in 4 boards (2 off) and 2 steals. He is proving to be an excellent rebounding guard, which has been a trademark of previous Tech legends................. Thaddeus Young looked smooth once again, ending with 19pts (7-12, 5-6 3pt), 1 board, 1 block, 4 assists, 1 steal, 0 turnovers. Another smooth night.................. Ra'Sean Dickey led the team in rebounding for the 3rd straight time with 7 and blocked a couple of shots as well.

Coach Hewitt was pleased in the first half but disappointed in our shot selection in the 2nd half as well the fall-off in defensive intensity. Gave Ga.St credit for battling in the 2nd half. However, he had hoped with a 28 pt halftime lead that we would finish stronger than we did. Too many bad shots turned into easy baskets from GaSt, who had "a ton" of transition buckets in the 2nd half...................... Coach was very interested in seeing if we could sustain our concentration tonight. He was concerned the other night because we were a little fatigued with classes and other things. He was hoping we would sustain our concentration and effort in the 2nd half and said we didn't do that................. He liked the way we passed the ball up until the 24 minute mark. At the 16 minute mark he took out Javaris and while he said "I don't want to use the word selfish", we got a "little quick with the trigger", shooting the ball without finding the open man, even forcing things up inside with double and triple teams. Had we passed better to the open guy, maybe our trips to the foul line would have gone up as we forced them to foul us. Their passing in the 2nd half was better than ours..................... Javaris was impressive and any time you can go 3-3 behind the arc, it forces teams to play a step closer, which allows you to exploit through quickness. However, JC would be the first to tell you he has some things to work on defensively and his rebounding has to improve (I did a double take on that one).................. Thaddeus has been working a lot on his shooting form in the gym. He didn't have it going inside tonight. We thought we set him up for some easy baskets and he missed a dunk and a 10 footer, But then he steps back and goes 5-6 from 3pt. He's a talented young man. We need to get him to the foul line more. However, he needs to do better than 1 defensive rebound............................. Ra'Sean is really playing well and maintaining his concentration. Lewis has improved from last year. It presents some good problems for us when you have different combinations you can play. He really like the combination with Ra'Sean and Zachory out there................. All in all though they would tell you that GaSt took it to us in the 2nd half...................... In preparation for Maui, Friday is a travel day, but we're going to go at it pretty hard Saturday and Sunday in preparation for a Monday afternoon game. We have to worry about Purdue and whatever comes after that, so be it.

Jackets win............ move to 3-0............... time to say ALOHA................ hope is alive..........