Instead of doing a traditional recap, I decided to just rewatch the game and take a bunch of notes on the game. Here is what I came up with, in order of game. Up until Saint Mary’s went on a 15-1 run.
- In the first two games, Saint Mary’s needs to improve on defending using the new rules. Lots of non-shooting fouls add up quick.
- Brad Waldow had a good post up move when being defended one on one. As a result, he was double teamed as soon as he touched the ball in the paint.
- Because of off-ball movement, Waldow was able to find the open man for layups. Also, Levesque made one of two three pointers when being wide open on the weak side.
- Saint Mary’s has put an emphasis on the term “easy buckets” this year. A lot of shots in and around the paint. For example, against LA Tech, 14/55 shots where 3-pointers (25.4%). Against Akron, 12/47 (25.5%). Last year, late in the year, in the home games against USF and SCU the numbers were 17/50 (34%) and 20/57 (35%) respectively. If the Gaels can win without shooting three-pointers, then they will be dangerous all throughout the year. Also, constantly going for layups will open up wide open shooters – ala Levesque on the weak side.
- Early on, Saint Mary’s forced a lot of shots in the paint.
- Waldow has been really good at offensive put-backs. Second chance points are massive.
- A lot of time in the first half, on the defensive end, Saint Mary’s was out of place on rebounds, and Akron was able to get second, third, and sometimes fourth chance looks.
- Akron got a lot off good looks close to basket, but were unable to convert. Despite that, stayed in the game for a long time.
- Perimeter defense was outstanding for Gaels. Their guards were unable to score and only shot 15 three pointers, making two of them.
- As the game got on, Saint Mary’s were able to create turnovers, break the press, and get easy layups.
- Holt driving and kicking out to Waldow will be big. Will be interesting to see how WCC coaches defend it, whether Waldow’s defender doubles up on Holt on the drive.
- Jackson and Hodgson both had good games off bench. Waldow played only 27 minutes. Will be interesting to see whether Hodgson can push for more meaningful minutes.
- James Walker III and Jordan Guisti were tremendous on defense. WCC is known for its solid guards on offense, but the Gaels guards are taking it to a whole new level on the defensive end.
Ultimately, given the circumstances, this was a good win. Sloppy play early on, but Gaels showed depth and athleticism in while putting game away. The way they broke the press down the stretch and the way Holt was able to penetrate, draw contact, and either get fouled or dish out for an assist was very good. One of the better games on tap next as North Dakota State comes in to Moraga Thursday.