Monday, November 28, 2011

Thoughts from TicketCity Legends Classic in Rhode Island

Though I only attended three of the six games that were played this weekend up at the Ryan Center on the campus of URI,. I saw more than enough to make the following observations;

  • Had it not been for a mistake by the timekeeper in their game against Cleveland State, Boston University would have swept the entire subregional.  The Terriers played really inspired basketball all three days and rallied twice to beat Rhode Island and Hofstra. They also controlled most of the action against Cleveland State.
  • The reason the Terriers are now my favorite to win the America East is that they have a terrific trio in Darryl Partin, Patrick Hazel and D.J. Irving.  
  • Partin had a terrific three games.  He averaged twenty three points and five rebounds per game in the subregional.  He needs to work on his free throw shooting; 16 of 25 from the charity stripe. But considering he averaged eight attempts per game means he is not just a jump shooter (though he was 4 of 10 from beyond the arc vs. Hofstra).
  • Hazel and Irving also had a good three games for the Terriers.  Hazel averaged thirteen points, nearly nine rebounds and three blocks per game in the subregional.  Irving averaged sixteen points, four assists and nearly three steals per game.
  • One of the keys for Hofstra this season was whether Mike Moore would step up his game after the graduation of Charles Jenkins.  He certainly proved it this weekend.  Despite being taken out of the game vs. Cleveland State, Moore had a terrific rest of the subregional.  He poured in twenty seven vs. BU and twenty five vs. Rhode Island.  He also averaged nearly eight rebounds per game in the subregional. 
  • Moore has fifty two free throw attempts on the season, shooting seventy-seven percent which is under his average of last season (eighty five percent).  But still he is averaging over seven free throw attempts per game.  In his last five games, Moore has averaged nine free throw attempts per game.
  • Speaking of free throw attempts, Hofstra averaged twenty six free throw attempts in three games.  When you get to the line that many times and you average 73 percent from the line (as they did this weekend), you will stay in games.
  • Outside of the first ten minutes vs. Rhode Island and the last ten minutes vs. Boston University, Hofstra played very well in the tournament.  With the addition of Bryant Crowder, the Hofstra rotation now goes nine deep. 
  • So far, Crowder seems to be a nice find for Coach Mo Cassara.  He might be the most athletic big man Hofstra has had since Adrian Uter.  He has energy, attitude, very good leaping ability and even a nice touch around the basket.
  • The rebounding continues to be solid for the Pride.  The Pride out-rebounded the Terriers yesterday, dominated the physical Vikings on Saturday and hung in there vs. the taller Rams. They are much improved from last season.
  • The Pride have a nice bench now with Crowder, Stephen Nwaukoni, Dwan McMillan and Shemiye McLendon. 
  • With ten minutes left in the game yesterday up 52-45, Hofstra was shooting 17 of 32 vs. Boston University.  They ended the game shooting 2 of 15.  It's hard to win when all your points come from free throws when the other team is hitting baskets.  
  • Nathaniel Lester missed all nine of his field goal attempts.  The Pride need Lester to be Moore's wingman to be consistently successful.  
  • Outside of those ten minutes against BU, Hofstra shot the ball well. Fifty one percent vs. Cleveland State, which I think is remarkable considering their defense, and forty six percent vs. Rhode Island.  The Pride are shooting forty four percent on the season.
  • Cleveland State just manhandled Rhode Island.  They forced twenty turnovers on the Rams, and URI missed all eight of their three point attempts.
  • D'Aundray Brown is a very good all around player for the Vikings.  He is not only their leading scorer but their best defender.  He just has to stay out of foul trouble. 
  • URI's Jonathan Holton is a dynamic talent, but as a freshman he is a work in progress.  After scoring twenty points vs. Hofstra, he only scored a combined sixteen points in his next two games. 
  • After a good first fifty minutes, Rhode Island had a bad last fifty minutes in the subregional.  They blew an eleven point lead against Boston University and got hammered by Cleveland State.  Heck, they nearly blew a nineteen point lead against Hofstra.  They are a better team than their 1-5 record indicates, but they need to find consistency.
  • I think I saw the best team in the America East and I certainly saw the best team in the Horizon this past weekend.  I also think that Hofstra will be right in the mix in the CAA.   I love URI's length and athleticism.  But again, the Rams have to play a full forty minutes game in and game out.

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