I had noted this in a previous article two weeks ago. The number of teams that are averaging twenty or more fouls per game has not changed. Most teams on average have now played ten games, which is nearly one third of the season. So the idea that teams will adjust to the new rules (see Jay Bilas), well, that's not happened yet. Not by a Dominick Mejia three point attempt (that one was for Dan Crain).
"three yards and a cloud of dust" offense Izzo believes his Spartans should play now;
"Tom Izzo said it best. I believe his quote, I don't want to misquote him, but he said after the Barclays Center games that he's going to just tell his players to drive in, create contact, throw the basketball up and worry about foul shooting, because it's taking away defensive advantages for schemes and scouting purposes. I have to learn the rules better and try to do a better job, and I'll do that. If you ask me how I feel, just take Tom Izzo's article, whatever he said, I agree. Steve Masiello agrees with Coach Izzo."
Meanwhile, the Gamecocks had not played a game in eleven days since their twenty seven point drubbing on the road at the hands of Oklahoma State. What made matters worse for Coach Frank Martin is that his young team, which consists of seven freshmen and three sophomores, had only played five games so far this season, the second fewest in Division I basketball.
But the Jaspers responded with an 8-0 spurt, due in large part to forcing three Gamecocks' turnovers in that span. Rich Williams and Michael Alvarado each had three point plays to help put Manhattan up 12-10. The Jaspers would extend the lead to four, 18-14 with about twelve and a half minutes left in the first half.
During this time, the fouls were mounting up for Manhattan. In the first seven and a half minutes, the Jaspers already had eight fouls. Rich Williams would pick up three fouls in the first half alone. And with seven minutes left in the half, Beamon picked up his second foul and went to the bench with the game tied at twenty eight.
During this three and a half minute period, South Carolina went ice cold from the field as well as from the free throw line. The Gamecocks only hit one of six field goal attempts and missed on three straight free throws before Tyrone Johnson hit the second of two free throws to cut the lead to ten 41-31.
Rich Williams started the second half with a layup to put Manhattan up thirteen, 47-34. South Carolina responded by scoring seven straight points to cut the lead to six, 47-41. After Alvarado hit one of two free throws, Sindarius Thornwell hit two free throws to cut the deficit to five, 48-43. The Jaspers continued to be plagued by fouls, committing six in the first four and a half minutes into the second half, with Williams picking up his fourth foul during this time. It looked like the Gamecocks were going to rally all the way back with help from the charity stripe.
South Carolina would not quit as Carrera and Thornwell combined to score all of South Carolina's points in a Gamecock 10-3 spurt to cut the deficit to five again, 58-53 with eleven and half minutes left in the game. Carrera (10 points second half) and Thornwell (14 points second half) both came on strong in the second half after a quiet first half for each of them (Carrera and Thornwell combined for three points in the first half).
But what Carrera gave the Gamecocks, he would take away on the next possession, fouling Beamon on a three point field goal attempt. Beamon calmly sank all three free throws to put the Jaspers back up by double digits, 68-57. South Carolina would get no closer the rest of the contest, or more appropriately, the foul fest, as Manhattan won going away 86-68.
The Jaspers excelled on the defensive end with eleven steals and nine blocks. Beamon had four steals and Pankey and Rhamel Brown each had four blocks for Manhattan. What helped the Jaspers deal with the fouls was their bench strength, as nine players were on the floor for at least eleven minutes. In fact, starter Rich Williams only played seven minutes due to foul trouble. He made the most of those seven minutes with nine points.
Thornwell led the Gamecocks with seventeen points. Johnson added twelve points, eleven of which came in the first half. Carrera added ten points for South Carolina. Brenton Williams, the team's leading scorer from last season, only played six minutes and was held scoreless.
Here's hoping that both teams start adjusting more to the free throw rules. Fifty three fouls and fifty six points on free throws are two numbers that you don't often see in a basketball game. And that's just too much stoppage in play for a game that prides itself on end to end action.