Well, the Cowboys showcased a lot of sloppy play (24 turnovers), a low effort level (I would describe the team as "flat-footed"), and grew tired as the game wore on. But the Pokes did get the win, and Marshall Moses officially declared this as his team. While I certainly enjoyed the Moses show... there were a lot more negatives than positives to take out of this game.
The main thing I noticed is that nobody is on the same page... NOBODY. 24 turnovers is the proof of that. Many of those turnovers were caused by the passer and receiver expecting different things from each other. Penn would lead Moses left and he would go right... etc. And as you would assume...if the two players weren't reading each other, then all five were definitely not on the same page at any point. When someone would get doubled, he was usually met with 8 eyes standing back and taking a look at what was happening. It looked like panic... nobody seems to know exactly where they should be on the court at any time. This will come.. but it will take at least a few more games.
The Cowboys did handle the full court press of Depaul pretty well early. Ray Penn or Fred Gulley were maneuvering through it easily, then could pass to a wing or a big when they got into trouble. But as the Pokes tired in the 2nd half, the press was having an effect. Even when the press itself wasn't creating turnovers, you could see the Cowboys getting flustered by the constant pressure.
In the first half the offense was in attack mode. Everyone was moving towards the basket with very little skipping it around the outside...sometimes to a fault as it lead to some wild drives and turnovers. In the 2nd half they just looked lost for the most part. Most baskets came from Marshall isolation and offensive rebounds.
The offense just doesn't finish well a lot of times. When there are well executed plays, they often aren't completed. The most notable being right before halftime when Penn passed to Moses who hit him right back with enough space to drive... he drives to about 10 feet then kicks to a wide open Sidorakis on the wing...Sidorakis puts up the open three and it skips over the rim and doesn't fall....buzzer, halftime.
Okay... I'm ready to buy in on Moses. He has finally found the right balance of power and how to utilize that soft touch he has. His highlights were an amazing bucket to tie it at 52 where he split a double team, then he hit the two free throws to clinch it with 6 seconds left.He finished with 27 points on 9 rebounds (7 of them on the offensive end).
Keiton Page has a goatee! In other Page news...the Pokes cannot look at him as a main scorer. Page is a great third option on the floor when the defense has to contend with two other scorers which opens up space for him. You can't run a whole lot of plays for him (although he is solid off of screens... but can't do it all the time), and you can't go to him when you absolutely need a score. Page is best when he floats to an open spot that was created by a help defender rotating to a scorer, then burying that open shot.
Darrell Williams had another solid game with 9 points and 8 rebounds. He didn't do anything huge, just tons of little stuff down low (and he hit 2 clutch FTs with 24 seconds left to extend the lead). I am really liking his hustle and the spark he gives this young team.
The Four Factors I'm Watching:
Assists to Made FG: Target 50%
Actual:29% (6-21). Ya, the numbers don't lie here.. it wasn't the best passing performance by the Cowboys.
Free Throw %: Target 72%
Actual: 85% (17-20). This is what won the game.... especially the aforementioned clutch ones down the stretch.
Percentage of 3FG to Total FG (and 3FG%): Target <35% for attempts, >33% 3PG%
20%. 9 of 46 total shots were from three and the Cowboys made 1 of those, good for an 11% hit rate. It was nice to see that they weren't taking these when they weren't falling... but Page did miss 2 very open ones that he should be hitting.
Defensive Assesment: Way too much standing around and watching. The Pokes were in the man-to-man for all but about 3 minutes of game time, and played it well for the most part, but a better outside shooting team would have owned them. Depaul was 3-24 from three... and that wasn't because of great defense.