Well, that sucked. Games are not always lost in the final two minutes. Games can be lost via attrition, lack of offensive flow, or a series of defensive mistakes. Attrition can occur in different ways such as the physical toll taken on the body to the point where players lose their legs, or the gamesmanship of players getting into foul trouble via the ticky-tak foul.
I hate blaming losses on the officiating crew, but in tonight’s DePaul/Seton Hall game, the crew was an abomination. In the first half, DePaul’s Paul Reed and Jaylen Butz both got into foul trouble with minor infractions. We all know that DePaul’s offense is not the most free flowing thing to witness, but Paul Reed’s general excellence and Butz’s ability to rebound errant shots generally propel the Blue Demons to success.
At the half, I could not believe that the Demons were only up 6. They had thoroughly dominated the half. DePaul shot a higher Field Goal percentage, higher free-throw percentage, had 5 less turnovers, and 3 more rebounds than the Pirates. How could they only be up six?
At the high point, they were up 10 and felt in complete control. But then the zebras got involved. In the last 3:53 of the 1st half, Seton Hall did not score a single basket, but somehow cut a 10 point lead to only six at the break. Any idea of how you could complete that magic trick? 6 free-throws. This matters. This is how teams are kept in games when it is not their day.
At half time, it was extremely clear that one coach, Kevin Willard of Seton Hall, got in the ears of the officials, while the other coach, Dave Leitao of DePaul, remained dignified. Within 3 minutes, DePaul’s Charlie Moore picked up two offensive fouls on ‘push-offs’, which happen on virtually every possession by every guard in NCAA basketball.
The combination of 3 of DePaul’s key offensive players all getting ticky-tak fouls disrupted the Demons from expanding their lead.
This all culminated in DePaul being up 1 with 2:18 left. Myles Powell, coming off of a concussion, and being treated by the officiating crew like a lost son, did an excellent pump fake from 3 point land making Romeo Weems foul him.
Powell, gifted fifteen free-throws, FIFTEEN FREE-THROWS!!!!!!, calmly sank all 3, mainly because he had had so much practice through out the game, to put Seton Hall up 2.
Jalen Coleman-Lands then tried a step-back 3-pointer, which he shoots 20% on as covered in the pre-game notes to this game, which he, of course, missed. JCL is a catch and shoot guy, and desperately needed to be set up in a catch and shoot situation, but the offense did not execute that, which lead to a poor shot.
Seton Hall then did an impressive alley-oop dunk to Romaro Gill, who just killed the Demons tonight, to go up 3.
Leitao called a timeout, and drew up a play?? It ended with Weems taking a difficult shot which was contested by Gill, and Seton Hall rebounding it.
Powell missed an ill-advised 3 pointer, but during the rebound, Butz knocked it out of bounds. On the ensuing inbounds play, Weems lost Myles Cale for a layup, and that was the ball game. DePaul was now down 6, and it wasn’t going to happen.
I know this sounds funny, but the defense against Myles Powell
Powell had very few open opportunities. The dude made shots in the paint tightly contested. Weems, Gage, and Darious Hall all locked down on him. I don’t think he had an uncontested shot from 3 on the night. Of course he did make 25% of those. He made some shots where he threw himself into some people going 5-7 from the field, and of course, he was gifted 15 free throw attempts, which I have heard is the 2nd most attempts he has ever had in a game. He is a physical player, and he played physical. It would’ve been nice to let other players be physical as well.
Powell had an offensive rating of 103, which is slightly above average. Seriously, the free throws changed the destiny of the game.
When not in foul trouble, Reed was excellent. He went 6-11 from close range and 1-3 from 3 point land ending with 17 points and 9 rebounds. Somehow, he only took 2 foul shots in the game. I am sure Seton Hall was treating him with kid’s gloves.
Gage played quality defense mostly against Powell, had 9 points on 4-7 shooting, one assist, two steals, and only one turnover.
DePaul’s Free Throw Shooting
The Demons shot 85% for the game, and still couldn’t get it done. Hall and Butz were making free throws!
Seton Hall’s Defense
Romaro Gill is such an asset. The Pirates use the 7’2″ center so intelligently. They cover the perimeter daring the opponent to drive through the lane where Gill awaits. Gill had 4 blocks, but probably changed the shots on another 5 to 10. This dude had an impressive block of a Jaylen Butz two handed dunk attempt.
Also, the way the team helps and recovers was awesome. DePaul has an excellent defense, but it was a pleasure to see some of the effort that the Pirates put forth.
The Officiating Crew
I am only going to go through the greatest hits, because I am a gentleman.
Let’s start with the baseline of what is a foul and what is not a foul when dealing with Myles Powell.
1st up, is this egregious foul called on Darious Hall. You can see, he doesn’t even touch Powell.
Second will be Prodigal Son Powell absolutely murdering Devin Gage on a layup, which was not called a foul.
— Lazybluedemon (@lazybluedemon) December 31, 2019
It is truly an embarrassment. That is a minimum 2 point swing.
Ok, now that I have you getting a little perturbed, let’s visit the first of Charlie Moore’s ‘fouls’ in the second half.
— Lazybluedemon (@lazybluedemon) December 31, 2019
The two calls against Moore ended two possessions, which may have resulted in points. Instead, Moore went to the bench.
Seton Hall took 30 free-throws tonight. DePaul has 4 key players and 3 of them had to spend significant time on the bench. It all matters. It was a bad game by the officiating crew.
Moore went 4-15 from the field. 1-7 from 3 point land, and 3-8 from 2. He had 8 damn turnovers. He did not make great decisions. The Pirates play excellent defense, and it got to him for sure.
This team seemed to be out of sorts on the offensive side. Some of it was due to key personnel in foul trouble, but Leitao needs to come up with some more ideas. From memory, Coleman-Lands only had 3 catch and shoot opportunities from 3 point land. It did not appear that they were running any plays his way. A screen or double screen to give him a second to catch and shoot is all that is needed normally. He went 1-7, but 4 of those were off of dribbles or step backs.
There seemed to be a lot of standing around on most possessions. There needs to be more creativity when things aren’t going well. It seemed like the Demons were all out of idea.
The Blue Demons play the Providence Friars on Saturday at 1pm in Chicago. It is a must win game. DePaul must avoid an 0-2 start in conference play. Providence has an excellent defense and an abysmal offense. As we know, all it takes is a hot hand or an officiating crew to create free-throws to throw it all out of balance. The Demons must come through.