Tuesday, December 4, 2012

When Bad Beats Worse (Recap of Wagner vs. Hofstra)

I have seen my share of ugly basketball games over the years, on TV and in person.  In December of 2009, I witnessed in person Hofstra defeat Manhattan 44-39.   It was two hours of my life that I wouldn't get back and I noted various painful statistics from that game in my recap of the game.  It was one of those nights when bad beat worse.

Tonight was another one of those nights, though this was going to be a game I would be watching online 750 miles away in Columbia, South Carolina.  It was clear early on that things were not going to go well.  First, the Hofstra video feed was having issues.  The video was working fine.  The problem was no audio.   After several minutes, which included losing the picture, the feed came back with audio.  The problem was the audio was the WRHU feed, not the play by play feed which was on 1190 AM in New York.  So instead of play by play, you heard actors playing out a scene from a play.  After a few seconds, I had to mute the feed.  Eventually that was fixed.

Unfortunately, the Hofstra AV crew couldn't fix the play of Wagner and Hofstra the first twenty minutes.  There were long stretches of play where no points were scored. At the under sixteen minute media timeout, the score was 2-2.  At the under twelve minute media timeout, the score was 8-6 Seahawks.  With 3:23 left, the two teams combined for fifty four possessions and thirty four combined total points.   Hofstra entered halftime up 24-19.

(Warning, the faint of heart should not read the next paragraph due to the gratuitous violent nature of bad first half stats).

Wagner was 8 of 27 from the field in the first half, including 1 of 7 from beyond the arc. The Seahawks also had ten turnovers compared to just two assists.  Hofstra was 2 of 9 from the foul line. Taran Buie had an ugly first half trifecta - 1 of 7 from the field, 0 for 2 from beyond the arc and 0 for 3 from the foul line. Steve Mejia didn't do much better - 1 of 6 from the field, 0 for 2 from beyond the arc and 2 for 5 from the foul line.

The two teams didn't fare any better at the start of the second half.  It took three minutes for Hofstra to hit their first field goal.  At the under sixteen minute media timeout, the Pride were still up on the Seahawks at 26-23.

But Wagner was in the middle of a 12-2 run to go up 31-26 with 13:15 left.  The Seahawks press was starting to bother the Pride as the Seahawks forced nine second half turnovers.  Steve Mejia struggled to hold onto the ball on the night.  He had seven assists but also six turnovers.

Wagner was still up five, 34-29 with about eleven and a half minutes left.  The Seahawks then couldn't score for the next two minutes.  The problem was neither could the Pride. After Eric Fanning made two free throws to give Wagner their largest lead of the game at that time, Buie scored the next six points to cut the Seahawks lead to one, 36-35.

However Hofstra never could tie the game or take the lead the rest of the way.  This was due in large part to shooting eight of nineteen from the foul line.  Mejia had an awful night.  To go with his six turnovers, Mejia shot 1 of 11 from the field and 3 of 7 from the line.

Buie had a much better second half for the Pride, scoring fourteen points in the last twenty minutes.  The problem was the rest of his teammates only scored six points in the second half.  Hofstra shot 6 of 21 from the field in the second half with Buie making four of those shots.

Wagner didn't exactly the light the world on fire from the field in the second half, shooting 9 of 26 in the second half.  But the Seahawks lit up the foul line, shooting 15 of 18 from the charity stripe in the second half.  Wagner would go onto win 52-44.

Kenny Ortiz led Wagner with 15 points and Mario Moody added 12.points.  The Seahawks had fourteen offensive rebounds which helped give them a 13-4 margin in second chance points.  Wagner won despite missing their best player, Latif Rivers, who likely won't be back until January.

Buie led all scorers with 16 points, but no other Pride player was in double figures.  Walk-on Matt Grogan had another nice night with seven points and Stephen Nwaukoni had eleven rebounds.

Hofstra has now lost four straight games after their three game sweep in the 2K Classic Subregional and will now play another NEC team, LIU on their home court in Brooklyn,   Wagner has a home game against Coppin State.

Both teams had a chance to win tonight, but in the future they will need to play a lot better.  You can win ugly, but not that often.

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