Saturday, November 26, 2011

Five halftime thoughts: Cleveland State

1.) The Flying Dutchmen and Cleveland State are tied 29-29 after a taut first half in which neither team led by more than three points, and much like the issues that have dogged the Dutchmen thus far, what went wrong appears fixable. Hofstra has just 20 shots on 29 possessions and has turned the ball over eight times. A few more successful possessions and the Dutchmen could be in position to pull off the upset.

2.) This is another balanced scoring effort from the Dutchmen, albeit with a very surprising leading scorer. Stephen Nwaukoni, who played just two minutes yesterday, has eight points, two shy of his career high. The Dutchmen already have eight players in the boxscore, and it’s encouraging they are tied while getting so little from Mike Moore (one point), Nathaniel Lester (six points) and Shemiye McLendon (scoreless thus far).

3.) The presence of Crowder not only allows Mo Cassara to make what Gary Moore has called “hockey line changes”—i.e. mass substitutions—but it has apparently lifted the play of fellow bigs Nwaukoni and Moussa Kone. The Dutchmen are outrebounding Cleveland State 18-11 and Nwaukoni has two of his three field goals off offensive rebounds. The Dutchmen have been increasingly resilient on the boards this week, which is an encouraging trend looking ahead towards CAA play.

4.) The Dutchmen have done a better job of breaking the full court press than they did yesterday against Rhode Island and are forcing plenty of fouls from an aggressive Cleveland State squad. The Dutchmen were 10-of-13 from the line, compared to just 3-of-5 for Cleveland State, and have just one player with two fouls (Kone).

5.) Before heading to Rhode Island, this was one of those games in which a valiant effort by the Dutchmen in defeat would have been acceptable, externally as well as maybe even internally. But now that the Dutchmen have the upset in sight—and need to win their last two games this month to end November with a winning record—they need to find a way to pull this one off, establish a “trademark win” far earlier than normal and create some major momentum heading into a December that opens with tough tilts against James Madison and Wagner.

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