Bulldog hoopsters unable to maintain lead over mighty Big 10 opponent

The lead was 4-2.  Iowa eventually survived, 70-48.

For The Citadel, the first six possessions went like this:
1) Inside to Demetrius Nelson, he scores
2) Inside to Nelson, he scores again
3) Attempt to transition for an easy hoop leads to challenged layup, no good
4) Ignored the inside, rushed a 3, no good
5) Ignored the inside, one-on-one move leading to long jumper, no good
6) Inside to Nelson, Iowa brings help this time, he kicks it out for an open 3, Daniel Eykyn makes it

Then there was a media timeout.  When action resumed, Nelson had been substituted.

When you are playing a team like Iowa, there aren’t going to be a lot of possessions (the Bulldogs had 54 in this game).  You’ve got to make them count.  If something is working early, like Nelson getting good looks because he’s being played one-on-one by a guy about his size, keep doing it.  Instead The Citadel started rushing things. 

Iowa would pass the ball around, running ball screen after ball screen, waiting for a defender to screw up (which happened way too often).  Then one of the Hawkeyes would take (and 52% of the time, make) an open 3.  It was quite frustrating to watch.  Even more frustrating, though, would be The Citadel’s response, which was seemingly to try to speed the game up by taking quick shots on the offensive end, especially three-pointers, missing most of the outside jumpers (4-17 from 3).  The Citadel’s rushed play also led to 13 turnovers, which doesn’t sound bad, but remember, there were only 54 possessions.  That means that almost one-fourth of every Bulldog possession ended in a turnover.  That’s not a good ratio.

The Citadel also tried to speed the game up by pressing Iowa, but that didn’t work, partly because the Bulldogs aren’t really a pressing team.  Iowa only committed one turnover in the entire first half (five for the game). 

A victory probably wasn’t meant to be for The Citadel, anyway, considering Iowa was fairly sharp and never seemed sluggish, and also given how well Hawkeye guard Anthony Tucker shot the ball (the second three Tucker made was actually very well defended, but Tucker made it anyway). 

Still, the final result is disappointing.  While Iowa is a major conference team, it’s not expected to challenge for the Big 10 title, and perhaps more importantly, the game didn’t feature multiple athletic mismatches like you might expect against a BCS opponent.  In other words, it shouldn’t have been a 22-point loss (which is a bad loss, especially given the pace of play).  The Citadel did manage to get within five points with less than 13 minutes left in the second half, but then Iowa made another run and the Bulldogs seemed to lose their bearings.

Cameron Wells had a good game, finishing with 21 points on 13 shots.  Austin Dahn seemed to pick up a foul every five seconds he was in the game – it just wasn’t his night.  Nelson finished with eight shot attempts (and only one FT attempt) in 28 minutes.  Cosmo Morabbi grabbed six rebounds, not bad at all for a guard, and had three assists.  He was 0-5 from the field, though, missing three three-point shots, at least two of which seemed to not come in the natural flow of the offense.

Of course, there arguably wasn’t a natural flow to the offense.  The Citadel only had five assists in this game on nineteen made field goals, and that despite only picking up two offensive rebounds, so it’s not like the Bulldogs converted a bunch of tap-ins.

Next up, Cincinnati Christian, as part of the Cancun Challenge, with McAlister Field House the site, as opposed to a Mexican beach…

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: