Perhaps it was the defense that killed them. For whatever reason, the starters all needed a spell during the exact same 3 minute stretch in the second half. Having built a nine point lead, if ever there was a time when they were going to get that break, that was it. Unfortunately, that nine point lead evaporated in the blink of an eye and the Xavier guards that the Commodores had frustrated so well for the entire game prior got their heads up and their ears pinned back. Hindsight being 20/20, maybe they should have called a timeout. Maybe they could have tried to stagger the subs a bit more.
The encouraging thing was that this team frustrated a borderline top ten team in Xavier in the way that most Commodore fans didn't think was possible -- with defense. And they did it without Festus Ezeli. If you add the potential NBA center to that Commodore team, the one that played good, hard defense, this team has the ability to beat anyone. The stagnation that plagues the offense begins to disappear. No more selling out to stop John Jenkins or Jeffery Taylor at the wings. More room for the point guards to operate. More trips to the foul line and more opponents fouling out of games. Suffice it to say, if Festus were in that game, Xavier doesn't sit at six fouls total in the second half and overtime combined.
Congratulations to Xavier for buckling down and scratching out a tough win on the road. I think I speak for the players in saying we hope to see you deep in the tourney.
The sky is not falling. Yes, we lost in overtime to the eleventh ranked team. Yes, we had a second half, double-digit lead that we gave away. Yes we couldn't execute down the stretch. We ran out of gas. And we ran out of gas because we played our guts out on defense for once. I can live with that.
Time to regroup. The team's backs get closer to the wall. Now we find out what they're made of.
|Points Per Possession||0.89||1.07|
*** Each game, AOG's army of statistics monkeys laboriously pore over the box score and play-by-play to calculate the mysterious plus/minus game statistics. These are those statistics. Please share your observations via the comments. Note: these are only the stats from the last five games. Click here to view the entire 2012 season.***
Plus/Minus Adjusted Per 40 Minutes
You could say we're missing Festus' +15 per 40 (adjusted) from last season. Hope to see #SkyNet out there ASAP.