Thursday, January 13, 2011

Hofstra 74, Towson 60 (Or: The Baltimore Bullet Point Recap!)

I'm not old enough to remember when the Washington Wizards were the Baltimore Bullets--nor, obviously, when this politically incorrect logo was all the rage--but Loyal Reader NUHF was!

This blog you see right here is not the blog you were supposed to see. I planned to write something for yesterday about how we should enjoy the moment and invoke all the one-day-at-a-time clichés writer types like me usually loathe. I couldn’t finish that in time, though, so I figured I’d center today’s recap around that thesis (oohh look at me, channeling 11th-grade English teachers everywhere, hi honey!). But then I wrote most of that, and it was long and rambling even by my standards. So that will have to wait until tomorrow. Probably. So anyway, the return of the oft-maligned five POST-GAME thoughts!

1.) Spoiler alert: Greg Washington is the three-star player of the game. Mike Moore led the Dutchmen with 21 points—only the second time this year someone other than Charles Jenkins has paced Hofstra—and added eight rebounds while Jenkins had his usual stuffed stat line (19 points, five assists, three rebounds). But Washington continued his star-making run by scoring a season-high 16 points—the second straight game in which he has established a new season-high—on 8-of-11 shooting. And in his last five games, he is a remarkable 30-of-49 from the field. Almost as notable: All but two of his baskets Wednesday were in the paint.

“A little bit of renewed confidence for him,” Mo Cassara said via phone afterward. “We’re continuing to try to throw him the ball and get him involved. A lot of credit to Charles, he’s been willing to share the ball a lot.”

2.) With Jenkins atypically quiet in the second half last night—he went almost 16 minutes before he scored his first points—Washington and David Imes picked up the slack by scoring 13 straight points before Jenkins’ first field goal as well as 17 of the Dutchmen’s first 21 points of the half. Imes (4-of-4, 11 points) had his second perfect game from the field in his last four contests and might actually be hotter than Washington: In his last six games, Imes is 24-of-30 from the field. Pretty good for someone who was 8-of-26 in the four games from Dec. 4-18.

“He’s been tremendous, he’s been very efficient,” Cassara said. “He’s done a great job rebounding for us. Some of the things he’s done don’t show up in the boxscore. I’m really proud of the way he’s playing.”

3.) The second-most impressive thing about the win was the thoroughness of it. The Dutchmen led wire-to-wire and held a lead of at least two possessions for the final 38 minutes—from the moment they extended the lead to 4-0. They also produced three 7-0 runs in the first half—including two in the first six minutes—as well as runs of 9-0 and 17-5 immediately after Towson closed to within four early in the second half and a 10-2 run to seal the game late in the second half. The Dutchmen were also once again fundamentally sound, draining 12-of-15 free throws, compiling 18 turnovers on 29 field goals—the third straight game in which they’ve had an assist on more than half their baskets—and displayed remarkable ball movement throughout.

4.) The most impressive thing about the win was the Dutchmen’s new-found prowess on the offensive boards. The Dutchmen had 14 offensive rebounds, a figure they’d reached just three times in their first 14 games against Division I competition and one more offensive board than they had in their previous two games combined. They also had 21 second-chance points, a mere 21 more than they had against Northeastern on Saturday. It was a pretty good approximation of Old Dominion, which of course lives off offensive rebounds.

“We knew it was our fourth game in nine days and we’re a little tired and leg weary,” Cassara said. “But we just said ‘Hey, we’ve got to go get offensive rebounds, beat them up and down the court a little bit, make the big guys move around a little bit.’ We knew, being on the road, tough gym to shoot in against a team fighting for a win, [that] we were going to have to go get some second-chance baskets.”

5.) The player responsible for the most eye-popping statistical performance didn’t even score a point. Shemiye McLendon was 0-for-6 from the field, but set career highs with 10 rebounds and five assists and ran the point effectively (one turnover) on a night in which Brad Kelleher had four turnovers and just one assist. Such a performance by McLendon was particularly notable because it came two weeks after he was 0-for-7 with three rebounds, no assists and two turnovers against Iona and less than two months after the Western Kentucky game, when Cassara had to call timeout with seconds left after the ball ended up in McLendon’s hands at midcourt.

“Some of the shots just aren’t going in for him, he’s got to get into the gym and get his rhythm back a little bit,” Cassara said. “He’s kind of hit the wall a little bit, the freshman grind of a college season. He’s been a little under the weather as well. For him to go in and rebound the way he did and hustle the way he did, he really gave us a great lift off the bench.”

3 STARS OF THE GAME (vs. Towson, 1/12)
3: Greg Washington
2: Mike Moore
1: Charles Jenkins

Charles Jenkins 41
Mike Moore 19
Greg Washington 12
David Imes 12
Dwan McMillan 5
Brad Kelleher 3
Shemiye McLendon 2
Yves Jules 1
Stephen Nwaukoni 1

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