The outcome of the official match almost seems easy to explain; shots were falling for Bryant, but not for Saint Peter’s.
The Saint Peter’s University’s men’s basketball team fell to the out-of-conference Bryant University Bulldogs 69-44 in the season opener at the Yanitelli Center Wednesday night. The squad is 0-1 overall.
“I personally have to do a better job, getting these guys going,” said Ryan Whalen, SPU’s interim head men’s basketball coach. “... Going forward there’s some things, obviously, we need to work on and you can bet we will.”
Senior guard Quinn Taylor opened with the first two points of the game.
On the next possession, the Peacocks moved the ball around from each wing before dishing it in the paint to senior forward Derrick Woods who went up for the layup, but missed. The Bulldogs took advantage of the error and answered back with a layup of their own, tying at 2-2.
Freshman guard Doug Edert, who was the team’s highest scorer last Tuesday, got both the offense and crowd going after he hit a shot from the three-point line, setting the lead to 5-2.
Despite the low score -- which stayed under 10 points for both teams for about 12 minutes in the first half -- SPU stayed on top of Bryant in their zone defense. But that didn’t seem to matter because SPU struggled making their shots under the basket.
Freshman forward Hassan Drame got the Peacocks out of a drought with a made layup to gain an 8-5 advantage. But the squad had back-to-back turnovers, which gave the Bulldogs the 8-11 lead.
Woods then knocked a loose ball and fled down the court, with the help of his teammates, and tied up the match 11-11 after a banked in layup. But a good shot from underneath by Bulldog Ikenna Ndugba, Patrick Harding and three-ball from Bulldog Benson Lin snatched the lead from the Peacocks.
A good dunk by Taylor, turnovers and missed layups by SPU closed the first half as they trailed 17-28.
Freshman guard Aaron Estrada, the second highest team-scorer last week, knocked down a three-pointer to make the game 23-33, but Bryant guard Michael Green III hit a jumper and Charles Pride scored a three-ball. It was now 23-38.
After a made foul shot by freshman forward Fousseyni Drame, Hassan, his twin brother, attempted a jumper in the paint, but missed as Bulldog Mikail Simmons went for the rebound. Fousseyni fought for the board as the two fell down in a rally for the ball. Simmons and Fousseyni were given a technical foul.
Edert was put back in the game with a little under 10 minutes left and he made a three-pointer just minutes on the court. Redshirt-junior guard Nazeer Bostick and Woods each shoved their way through traffic for a triplet of layups, putting SPU 36-57.
With two and a half minutes left, Taylor put on a last minute show as he scored eight consecutive points -- including a three-pointer -- to finish the game, 44-69.
Why It Happened
Missed layups, missed foul shots and turnovers. And then some more missed layups.
Both teams started off slow on offense, but Bryant was able to get in their rhythm. They only trailed a few minutes into the match -- for 11 minutes in the first to be exact -- but quickly gained the lead, and kept it, after a three-pointer by Adam Grant.
After that, the Bulldogs took advantage of the Peacocks’ turnovers and missed layups. SPU tried to make up for it on the other end of the court, but one too many offensive boards were allowed and Bryant capitalized on that.
As Edert said last week against New Jersey City University, the squad needs to work on their transition defense, and that seems to still be the case.
Giving the ball to Edert.
Let the freshman guard move around on offense and situate him anywhere behind the three-point line. Estrada can stand there too -- or maybe graduate guard Cameron Jones -- but, for now, Edert seems to be the go-to when SPU is trailing.
Taylor and Woods are always solid players in the paint; Taylor if you want a mid-range jumper and Woods if you’re looking for a put-back layup.
Freshman guard Daryl Banks, Bostick and the Drame twins are also solid mid-range scorers. Sophomore guard Dallas Watson and freshman guard Matthew Lee are great playmakers for the squad.
Help each other learn what each Peacock can offer on the court. Be patient with the ball; the play where the ball gets passed above the key and dished to the paint is one of the most effective moves.
Fancy layups. If a regular layup isn’t going to go in, please don’t try for a reverse.
When SPU got too eager and frustrated, they didn’t rotate the ball enough, which turns into a bad shot selection, then a missed shot and then a delayed transition into defense.
Analyze the court -- watch who’s in the paint and who isn’t. Watch the backdoor cut and any shooters who are open; same goes for on defense. There’s 30 seconds on the shot clock -- and though it’s easier said than done -- make those ticks count.
SPU was below 30 percent in shooting compared to Bryant who reached 50 percent in the second half. Everyone has an off shooting day, don’t make bad shot selections because of it.
The men’s basketball will head to face Big East rival Providence College on Saturday at 2 p.m. at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center. The game will air nationally on Fox Sports 2 (FS2).