Thursday, January 27, 2011

Grading the Terriers: 1/26 vs. Binghamton

By Luke Coughlan/DFP Staff

Freshman forward Dom Morris: A

The freshman forward came up big in his fifth game back from a non-basketball related injury on Wednesday night, tying his career-high of 15 points on 4-of-10 shooting. With Binghamton University down by three with seven seconds left, he pulled down one of his five rebounds off a senior forward Mahamoud Jabbi 3-point attempt and hung on as he was fouled. His two clutch free throws iced the game for the Terriers and wrapped up one of their finest end-of-game performances on the year.

Given the difficult task of defending down low along with junior forward Patrick Hazel and junior center Jeff Pelage, Morris was widely successful. He recorded the only block between the three of them and stayed out of foul trouble. He ended the game with one personal foul while Hazel and Pelage each recorded four.

Senior forward John Holland: B-

Once again, when the Terriers needed a hero, John Holland stepped up and scored six of his 16 total points in the game’s final 5:19. He lifted the Terriers from a two-point deficit and gave them their first lead since the second half’s opening minutes en route to the 71-66 victory. So why does he get a B-? Simply put, the heroics would not have been necessary had Holland submitted the same aggressiveness that he showed in the game’s final minutes throughout the entire contest.

During a media timeout with 7:38 remaining in the game, Holland became visibly upset as BU coach Patrick Chambers said something to him as he walked to the huddle. Chambers said after the game that he told Holland that he wasn’t playing hard enough. The comment seemed to be just the spark to set Holland off. While he did not make a single basket from the field in the second half, he was wildly successful driving the lanes and the baseline to draw fouls. All six of his points following the timeout came from the charity stripe.

Hindsight in these situations is always 20/20, but it seems that, time and again, Holland’s success has come from his ability to take the ball to the hoop, something that he simply didn’t accomplish for the first majority of the game. Had he been more aggressive to start the game, his late-game heroics may not have been necessary at all. When he is at his best (see 15-of-18 from the FT line and 24 total points against the University of Vermont on Jan. 9), Holland is aggressive and playing hard for 40 minutes. He was not at his best Wednesday night.

Junior forward Patrick Hazel: C-

Hazel recorded his third foul with 19:26 remaining in the game, and his fourth with 10:31 to go. That was his game right there.

He played only 18 minutes in the contest, the fewest of any of the starting five. With junior forward Jake O’Brien still sidelined with an ankle injury that has kept him out of every conference game, the Terriers need to be very economical with their forwards, an aspect of the game that left them thin in the frontcourt on Wednesday.

Hazel’s limited minutes minimized his production. The junior tri-captain shot 1-of-4 for two points and tallied just three rebounds, tied for a team-low (for players with more than two minutes of playing time) with Pelage, who also had foul trouble, and 6-foot freshman guard D.J. Irving. He recorded zero blocks, zero steals and, once again, laid a goose egg at the charity stripe, missing both of his free throw attempts to fall to .483 from the line on the year.

Junior guard Darryl Partin: A-

Partin worked out of a frustrating 1-of-6 start to finish with a team-high 20 points on 8-of-18 shooting. While Partin has shown a tendency to travel during quick stop-and-go drives to the basket in an effort to develop an offensive rhythm, he displayed a positive recognition of that fact on Wednesday night. Although he tallied two quick turnovers via travels with 9:42 and 6:54 remaining in the first half, he managed to correct his drive and find the hoop while recording no turnovers the rest of the way.

Credit Partin for rebounding from a two-game stretch in which he scored below his season average of 13.2 points per game by finding his rhythm and carrying his team in the second half on Wednesday night. He also led his team in rebounds with eight, an aspect of the game of which he said he was more proud than his offensive numbers.

Freshman guard D.J. Irving: B

Irving turned in another solid performance on Wednesday night by recording a game-high five assists along with seven points on 2-of-8 shooting. The 6-foot guard also snagged three rebounds and tallied two steals in the winning effort.

With 21 seconds remaining in the game, Irving swished two clutch free throws to push a one-point lead to three. The freebies are a clear example of the guard’s increasing maturity over the course of the season. On Dec. 9, Irving could have tied the game with two made free throws against La Salle University. The freshman went 1-of-2 from the line, forcing the Terriers to foul and essentially wrapping up the game. On Wednesday, few Terriers would have made the clutch FTs look easier than Irving, who has emerged as the team leader from the line with a .873 clip.

Junior guard Matt Griffin- B+

While Griffin has not yet come close to his 7-of-7, 21 point performance versus Marist College, he has shown his leadership in other ways on the court. The junior tri-captain was a vocal leader on Wednesday night who kept his team in the game mentally. But does vocal leadership alone really translate into a B+? Maybe not, but the seven rebounds sure do.

At 5 feet 10 inches, Griffin was the shortest player on the court on Wednesday night, yet he still pulled down a team-second-best and game-third-best seven boards. He also matched Irving’s two steals with two of his own and earned two assists. He scored three points on 1-of-3 shooting on the evening.

Junior center Jeff Pelage- C+

Like Hazel, Pelage suffered from foul trouble by picking up his third and fourth in a 20 second span with 8:47 left in the game. Pelage played only 14 minutes in the contest and matched Hazel defensively with three rebounds and zero blocks or steals.

The main difference between Pelage’s C+ and Hazel’s C- is the offense. Pelage scored six points off of 2-of-4 shooting. While this is not an amazing feat in and of itself, Pelage earned two of those points with a 2-of-2 performance from the charity stripe, and his first made layup came at the 6:28 mark of the first half when he put a nice move on the Bearcat defender and drove to the hoop with emphasis.

Since he returned from an ankle injury that kept him out of the team’s first 11 games, Pelage has been steadily improving his performance on the offensive end. Because he showed an ability to get the job done from the line and generate movement offensively, Wednesday’s game marked a step forward for him. Maybe not a big step, but a step nonetheless.

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