Sunday, February 12, 2006

Hoops - Jackets Beat the Pack, Break Streak

Just an outstanding afternoon as the Jackets take down their nemesis, the NC State WolfPack by a final of 71-68. Just a nice overall team effort against a tough team. So what was the difference?

Statistically, we reduced turnovers (15 total). However, the key was that the Pack only scored 7 points off those turnovers. Meanwhile the Jackets scored 14 pts off 19 Pack turnovers. For some reason this game our turnovers just didn't result in easy fast breaks. Most occured under the basket or near the baseball and were dead ball to's.

This team showed some nice aggressive offense tonight. They attacked the basket, had a nice mix of inside and outside shots and did a decent job of ball reversal. There was a short stretch in the 2nd half where it looked like they were going to fall apart, but they pulled themselves back together and kept it going.

Fredrick was the man tonight, scoring a career high 22 pts on 9-12 from the floor. Throw in 4 rebounds, 6 assists and only 1 turnover and you're looking at quite a game. Oh yeah - he only played 23 minutes. No kidding...... and he played in foul trouble through most of the game. He hit 2 critical shots down the stretch to lead the Jackets to the victory. However, Coach Hewitt commented in the post-game show that a key was Buck playing fewer minutes. He was more fresh throughout the game........ Even Buck commented in the post-game show that not starting allows him to see how the team is flowing and it is easier to see what they need to he can come right in and contribute. He really seemed genuine in his statements there........... Say what you want, but this team is as much "Buck's" team as anyone else's.........

Free throws, charges, loose balls, hustle, ball reversal. The team did more of those things today than we've seen in awhile. It will take that level of effort for 40 minutes for this team to win more games, but they're certainly capable of it.

Well, the Pack shoots 51% overall and 50% from long range, so how can you say it was a good defensive effort? Well, I saw the game and overall it was good. NCST just managed to hit a lot of long, tough shots. Yes, there were a handful of breakdowns that led to typical backdoor layups and dunks - but not like usual. I was pretty pleased with the level of defensive intensity today.

I mentioned Buck already. Dickey had 14 but only 2 boards. Jeremis Smith was mauled much of the day and ended with 7 pts / 6 boards. How about Theodis Tarver. He plays 28 minutes, scores 4 pts, 4 boards, 1 block, 4 assists, 1 steal and only 2 to's. A very solid night for the senior.............. Lewis Clinch was key today. He made some critical hustle plays and ended with 11 pts (4-7), 3 boards, 3 assists and 1 to.

So, which dunk was better? Was it Mario West's high flying throw-down? Was it Sean Dickey's left turn throw-down in a crowd? Was it Jeremis Smith's baseline monster jam? My take - Mario's dunk was the most athletic of the night - hands down. Dickey's was the most physical, as he spun off his guy to left and threw down a monster flush in traffic. But Smiths's was the nastiest, meanest, message dunk of the night. I saw the net crying he threw it down so hard. I mean wow!!

Great win for the team. They stood together and beat one of the best teams in the ACC. Now it's on to North Carolina Wednesday night. GO JACKETS!!!!!!