Just wondering around the inter webs on a Saturday afternoon, and an interesting tid-bit caught my eye. On the midmajormadness.com Saturday morning run-down, they said this about Friday’s game (italics are mine for emphasis):
Who is this St. Mary’s team? Hard to say without Matthew Dellavedova leading the Gaels, but the very short-benched squad took out the highly touted Louisiana Tech 83-70 on opening night. Raheem Appleby scored 18 points, but shot 8-for-20 from the floor and made just one of his six 3-point attempts. Brad Waldow led the Gaels with 28 points and eight boards.
Short-benched eh? One of the factors going into this season was, yeah the Gaels lost Dellavedova, but they have a mix of returning talent and new talent and they will have great depth! And, thinking back about it, not one player really had a bad, or even a mediocre game. Aside from a slow start, with all credit going to LA Tech, Saint Mary’s rolled over the visiting Bulldogs. So then, I decided to look at the box score, and was surprised to see this: Kerry Carter, G. 15
The only player on the bench to play double digit minutes was Kerry Carter. Waldow & Levesque played a combined 61 minutes at the 4&5 spots, which is a lot. For comparison, in last year’s loss to Memphis, starters Waldow and Mitchell Young played a combined 49 minutes in those positions, with Levesque chipping in 23 off the bench (He was the only bench player to play double digit minutes in that game). I’m not surprised to see Guisti, Holt, and Walker play 37 mins each. But the fact that Levesque and Waldow played ten more minutes than they did last year, speaks on both their skill and conditioning improvement. Ultimately, it was the Bulldogs that looked worn out at the end. If the Gaels can get Waldow and Levesque playing at a high level for 30 minutes a game, then they will have a dominant front court. Yes, Jackson was in foul trouble, but it should speak volumes of Waldow & Levesque that they played at a very high level for as long as they did. Matt Hodgson, who is the backup center, only saw five minutes of play. Hopefully, as the non-conference schedule gets a wee bit easier, the minutes are more spread out, so that Levesque & Waldow are not worn out, and Jackson and Hodgson get game minutes in the chance they have to play significant minutes in conference games.
It’s interesting to note that Dane Pineau was the first front court player off the bench, yet he only played four minutes. His performance will be interesting to track, as the Gaels still have three games in five days coming up.
Ultimately, I don’t think that the Gaels are short on depth. When their starters are on a roll, and are fit to play 30 minutes a game, then why substitute them and alter the flow of the game just so they can can catch a breath that they don’t need to catch?