Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Five halftime thoughts: Oregon State

1.) If nothing else, we know, three halves into the season, that the Flying Dutchmen have plenty of toughness and resiliency. After Hofstra jumped out to a 6-0 lead, Oregon State went on runs of 11-0 and 19-4 and seemed ready to blow the game open, but the Dutchmen changed up defenses and went on a 14-0 run and lead 41-39 at the half. (Just broke the no. 1 rule of journalism—list the final or in this case most recent score first. Oh well) And the Dutchmen came back largely without Nat Lester, who has three fouls.

2.) The Dutchmen are a better team, at least right now, with Dwan McMillan on the court. Stevie Mejia is still playing off the rust of sitting out last year and committed a handful of turnovers that led to Oregon State’s first run. McMillan’s insertion coincided with the beginning of Hofstra’s comeback. The two players were on the court for much of the first half and that will need to remain the case if Hofstra wants to pull off the upset.

3.) Foul trouble is a worry for the Dutchmen in what has been an increasingly chippy and physical game. Lester and McMillan have three fouls while Mike Moore, Shemiye McLendon and Moussa Kone have two apiece. The lack of depth, especially down low, could be a factor in the final few minutes. Still, the Dutchmen have limited the damage Oregon State has done in the paint after the initial runs and are actually outrebounding the Beavers, 15-12.

4.) 9-8-7-6-5-4. That’s the Dutchmen’s impressively balanced scoring attack (Moore-Imes-McLendon-Lester-Mejia-McMillan). Hooray! No more shutting Hofstra down with garbage defenses and sending four guys at one player!

5.) The Dutchmen will have a tough time winning if they can’t figure out a way to contain Jared Cunningham, who may or may not be related to Richie. Cunningham has 17 points on 6-of-10 shooting, including 5-of-6 inside the 3-point line.

5b.) This game is fun. If Hofstra hangs on, it will surely be time to make NCAA Tournament reservations. Or at least consider the possibility this program’s renovation could arrive a year ahead of time.

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