Friday, January 04, 2013

Half Empty vs Half Full

Found out one thing that new Mount head coach Jamion Christian and I have in common. After last night's loss, Christian said he was a "hopeless romantic". That's a lot like me, I'm a helpless romantic.

But let's be honest there couldn't be anyone in or around the Mount program happy with last night's loss. That game wasn't to be about moral victories. It was supposed to be about victories. But even in losses there  are usually positives and there certainly were a few last night.

And of course it all still depends on your perspective.

Half Full: To make it's final 13 field goals of the game, it took FDU 31 chances.
Half Empty: To make it's first 13 field goals of the game, it FDU 16 attempts.

With the style of defense the Mount plays, where it forces loads of turnovers, the Mount can survive with the opposition shooting at or near the 50% mark. But as it starts to drift above that it becomes more and more difficult. In their wins, against teams similar in caliber to what they'll see in the NEC, the Mount has done a decent job defensively in the half-court set. In the losses, the opposition has found itself with many easy shots. The fact that the Mount has been working to improve in this area is obvious. Ultimately, I think how successful they are in this area will determine how much success they have this year.

Half Full: Kristijan Krajina, Raven Barber and Taylor Danaher combined to shoot 16-of-25 from the floor.
Half Empty: The Mount made only 4 of 28 three pointers.

The Mount made only one of its first 20 three pointers, a Kelvin Parker connection early in the second half. But we know the Mount isn't going to continue to shoot this bad from the outside. The good news is there is a consistent offensive attack inside. Krajina doesn't exactly look pretty, but it's hard to ignore the efficiency. Barber has all the pieces, he just needs to consistently put it together. And Danaher, the redshirt freshman, has as much skill as you'll see from a big man at this level. Teams are overplaying on the perimeter allowing these guys space inside. As the defenses start to adjust it should give the team many more options from all over the floor.

Half Full: The Mount played hard to the end and really just ran out of clock.
Half Empty: The Mounties sleepwalked through the opening stages.

The Mount seemed a bit lethargic at the start. They dug themselves a whole, a real deep whole. The second half rally was very predictable, but overcoming a 17-point deficit takes a Herculean effort. The Mount never seemed to lose the confidence to get back in the game and made several runs at the Knights throughout the second half. Unfortunately for the Mount, FDU came up with enough plays to hold on. But you certainly had to feel if the game went another 5 minutes, it might have been a different result.

Hopefully, some of that late game spark carries over until tomorrow night versus Monmouth. King Rice brings his 5-9 Hawk squad to Knott Arena. Not to long ago, Monmouth was 5-3, but has dropped six straight including its first NEC game to Wagner. Monmouth plays an up and down game and has some similarities to the Mount. The Mount can't allow Monmouth to get any confidence early as they are likely to be reeling with the six straight losses. They will want to end the streak, the Mount will need a solid effort to prevent that.


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