It’s not exactly in the script for two juniors to steal the show on a senior night but that’s exactly what happened tonight in Richmond. In a game that was hugely entertaining for 35 minutes and a boring refshow-fueled free throw parade for 5, one player essentially dominated each half. In the first, T.J Cline completely dominated, not only keeping Richmond in a game they would have been blown out of without him, but getting them a 5 point lead. In the second, Scoochie came out of the locker room on fire and set a career high with 24 points (26 total) in the second half alone. When he’s aggressive offensively he changes the complexion of this team’s half-court offense by forcing teams to pay so much attention to him that other guys suddenly get better shots (i.e. Charles Cooke in the second half today). He also hit 8 consecutive free throws late in the second half that really secured the win, which is a big story considering how brutal he’s been at the line all year (63% which is down from 75% last year).
The other big story in this game from the Dayton side is just how much this game resembled their games from last season. This isn’t necessarily a good development, either. See if any of this sounds familiar.
- Nobody besides the starters and Darrell Davis played more than 6 minutes.
- Dayton got 83/85 points out of its starters plus Davis.
- The starters plus Davis accounted for 33/34 of UD’s rebounds and all 10 of UD’s assists.
- Dayton had 3 starters play 34+ minutes.
Yeah…. When Archie was working in some of the freshman earlier this year, including starting one of them for a lot of UD’s games, it really looked like we wouldn’t be staring a 6-man rotation in the face again. Plus, some of these guys bring different elements to the table that made it look like this would be a much deeper and more versatile UD team. Now? In a game that UD really needed, Archie basically played 6 guys. Some of the others only got minutes because Pierre was in foul trouble for much of the second half. Coaches tighten rotations in the playoffs and in tournaments all the time. It sure seems like Archie is calling his shot here.
11 Points in Honor of #11
- Kendall Pollard still doesn’t look right. There were a couple of times where he normally would have gone up for a dunk and went for a layup. He was very active at the beginning of both halves but then disappeared for the rest of them, possibly because he was loose after warming up and then it tightened. I’m just guessing here, obviously. There still isn’t a more important player to this team and they really need him to be healthy. His absence isn’t the sole reason they’ve struggled for the past 3 weeks but it sure as hell hasn’t helped. When he’s good, though, they go from mediocre to dangerous very quickly.
- Sam Miller’s brief stint in the second half was spectacularly bad. It began with a sloppy turnover, bled into some atrocious defense on back-to-back possessions, stumbled into a wide open corner 3 that clanged off the side of the backboard, and died when he screened out Pierre on Trey Davis’s flying dunk to give Richmond a 9 point lead. That was the last we saw of young Mr. Miller for the game and with good reason. Silver lining: he was the only non-Starter/Davis to score.
- What a game by T.J. Cline for the Spiders. That being said, there are some players on other teams you enjoy watching or grudgingly respect despite killing your team. Cline is not one of those players. He reminds me of a slightly-past-his-prime chucker in a YMCA pickup game. He took some truly awful shots in this game and did make a lot of them, but there’s something about his game that annoys the hell out of me.
- According to the CBSSN broadcast, the Venezuelan blue tarantula is the official spider of the Richmond Spiders. That’s almost accurate. There isn’t an official type of spider after which Richmond nicknamed its teams, but as of 2015 they have selected a spider to serve as a mascot. I can’t imagine this helps with recruiting.
- For a veteran team, UD gives up a lot of big runs to opposing teams. This is not a good look.
- “Big” Steve McElvene looks like he’ll be a useful player down the road. Right now he’s only playable in certain somewhat limited situations. I am impressed that he could look utterly helpless in only 2 minutes of play tonight. Usually it takes longer than that.
- Shot clock violations are the false starts of college basketball. In maybe 2% of cases they’re actually forced by superlative defense. In 98% of cases its because the offense either took too long to get started or because someone fell asleep at the switch. Each team had one in this game and in both cases it was entirely the offense’s fault.
- Let’s talk about the officiating in this game for a second. For 35 minutes there was really no problem – I can’t remember many calls that were even arguable. Then for the last 5 minutes the refs lost their damn minds. It started with a terrible call in Dayton’s favor against Kline and then the refs went into a weird makeup call feedback loop from which they never emerged. 4 atrocious calls later (2 each – I guess it was fair at least) they just decided that everything was a foul and spent the last 4 minutes turning what was a really entertaining game into a free throw contest. Yeah, some of it was because Richmond was trying to foul, but it was still excessive.
- I didn’t know Dyshawn Pierre had a double-double (15/10) until I looked at the box score. Normally those stick out more but I’m not complaining.
- This is the first time UD has won at Richmond since 2004, which is both amazing and inexcusable at the same time.
- Big game coming up on Saturday against VCU. Win that one, win a couple of games in Brooklyn and maybe get back some of the mojo they had in early February when a second weekend seemed possible.