Friday, December 05, 2008

Reflections on the Sacred Heart Loss

I haven't spoken with a Mount fan or anyone who follows the team who isn't disgusted by the Mount loss last night. And when I say disgusted, I mean flat out upset, and under the true belief that the game should have been a win, and there was really no excuse for the loss.

And I can't say I really disagree with them too much.

But time let's me reflect a little bit and let's me look at the big picture. What happened last night is this.....

....The Mount's leading scorer and team leader had a bad night. A real bad night shooting the ball - and a bad night in general. He was 1-for-14 from the floor, and had five turnovers. He got beat on penetration by the Pioneer guards more than I recall in the past. But he had 10 points and 6 assists. He has been a phenomenon the first five games. I am not overly worried. I'm guessing Jeremy will be Jeremy many more times the rest of the season, and nights like last night won't happen very often if at all.

....The Mount's defense which is and will continue to be the backbone of this team was beaten. For whatever reason, SHU was able to break down the half court D of the Mount. I think they did it with matchups, ball movement and an incredible shooting eye in the second half. They also did it with some penetration that allowed more open looks. I believe that the Mount's defense will be much better most nights than it was last night. I believe that the coaching staff will solve the problems that led to some of the points last night.

....The Mount's start last night was tremendous. In contrast to the start at American three nights earlier they were polar opposites. In the first ten minutes of the game last night the Mount scored 31 points, 4 on Monday. Maybe what happened last night provided a false sense of security. Maybe the players thought they could simply outscore the Pioneers. I don't know. But it did seem like SHU did a much better job getting back on defense, reacting to some of the Mount's offense and defending the perimeter the final 30 minutes. The Mount scored just 44 points the remaining 30 minutes and I don't know the number, but it seemed like about 10-15 of those came in the last two minutes, when the game became filled with stoppages.

....Let's not forget that this Sacred Heart team is supposed to be good. They were picked by the league's coaches to finish second to only the Mount. The game was on the road, and they didn't miss anything that they worked for during that opening stretch of the second half. I don't think they have played extremely well this year up until this point, but they were coming off a win - and they are expected to contend. The fact that Mount fans can be so upset after losing on the road to the team picked just behind them, that has appeared in the last two NEC championship games speaks volumes to the type of program the fan base thinks we have become.

I still have the utmost confident in this staff and this team to produce. This staff is not the type of staff that has let things get stale in the past. Usually the team produces after its biggest disappointments. I recall being utterly disgusted after watching the American game one season ago, and winning by 20 over Loyola several nights later - starting a six-game winning streak. I remember being severely upset by a similar loss to Sacred Heart last season, only to see us change some offense around, and go on the run that led to the championship and the NCAA berth. I remember thinking we had virtually no chance after the putrid first half at American on Monday, only to see great adjustments and huge differences in the second half.

I did not like everything I saw last night. I did see some good things but we did not control the boards, we turned the ball over too much, and we still had stretches where we don't seem very polished.

But I expect that things will be different tomorrow. I expect an inspired effort against a good CCSU team.

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