All seemed to be going well for Vanderbilt. The Commodores built a 40-25 lead over Dayton and seemed to be well on their way to victory. And then...
Well, the first thing that happened was that the tips they picked up from the Stephen Rivers School of Throwing the Ball to the Other Team kicked in. That allowed Dayton to close the lead to 40-32 by halftime, and then, while Stephen Rivers continued softly whispering in the players' ears, the team also completely forgot how to shoot layups or defend the pick-and-roll or rebound or even, at times, throw down dunks. The 24 percent shooting in the second half is even worse when you consider how many of those missed shots came from within two feet of the basket.
I'll grant that the referees, who decided to simply ignore the new emphasis on things like "freedom of movement" and "moving screens," were not helping matters. The fact that each team was whistled for 21 fouls does not absolve the officials, since making the fouls even required an inordinate number of no-calls on moving screens and things that many states would classify as "assault" on Dayton's end, while also whistling Vanderbilt for a number of love taps. (*I may be exaggerating here.) But, Vanderbilt still spent much of the second half playing as though they were afraid of success, and that's inexcusable.
Dayton tried to gift Vanderbilt the win in the last couple of minutes with a bunch of missed free throws, which naturally resulted in offensive rebounds or, if Vanderbilt did rebound them, missed layups. No, seriously, though. That was awful.
Seriously though, the rebounding was awful.
|Wade Baldwin IV||31||4||12||0||2||10||11||0||0||0||18||3||2||4||0||1||13.9||0.45|
Yes, for those who didn't know before, it IS possible to post a negative Game Score.
- At least Damian Jones came to play last night.
- The turnovers wouldn't seem that bad if they weren't primarily on passes that looked like they were thrown by Stephen Rivers.
- How you go through a game with six assists as a team is beyond me.
- This team should have the depth to overcome injuries to Luke Kornet and Camron Justice. The bottom of the chart begs to differ, however.
If there is anything at all I can think that's positive right now, it's that compared to the first eight games Vanderbilt played this year, last night seemed completely out of character. It simply looked like a different team, and not in a good way.
There are lessons to be learned from games like this, but when things like this even need to be said:
Wade Baldwin said lack of effort was "embarrassing ... unacceptable"— Adam Sparks (@AdamSparks) December 10, 2015
"We came out in the second half and literally on defense we were walking around – literally," Stallings said.— Adam Sparks (@AdamSparks) December 10, 2015
Stallings said it's his responsibility to get more effort from players, but the bench isn't as deep as earlier in year (to cut players' PT)— Adam Sparks (@AdamSparks) December 10, 2015
...then SOMETHING is not right. (I mean, Carter Josephs and Nathan Watkins are still on the team, right? RIGHT?!)
Anyway, it's probably best we just forget about this game. But hopefully the players will not.