(Newtown CT) The Vanguard University Lions (8-4) of Costa Mesa (CA) defeated Gordon, 76-65, on Thursday night in California.
There were 267 in attendance……..and I wasn’t one of them. In fact, I wasn’t even invited along! Why would I want to be where it’s in the 70’s when I can be here in Connecticut where it is in the 20’s??
I actually checked the weather in Costa Mesa and there was a weather alert for severe fog. I will avoid the temptation to refer directly, or indirectly, to that weather condition in describing the Scots playing style in this one!
So, I’m winging this from the stats provided by Vanguard. Please remember that if any of my conclusions are misguided.
Our David Dempsey may well have been the best player on the floor. He had a season-high sixteen rebounds to go along with sixteen points. His previous high in rebounds in the 2011-12 season was eleven.
One of the first stats I check is turnovers. A team that loses in that stat generally loses the game. I heard the fingernails on the chalkboard when I read that Gordon (3-4) turned the ball over on the first two possessions in the first half and five of the first six possessions in the second half.
The Gordon giveaway total was twenty-one with an alarming fourteen of them coming in the second half. That the Scots stayed in contention in the first half and fell behind by double digits in the second half makes perfect sense (to me) with that information.
Gordon will be (should be?) pressed by every team they face. Their ability in the future to lessen the unproductive possessions will determine, in my view, their chances of winning more games than they lose.
Another eye-catching stat was fouls. I have heard Celtic announcer Tommy Heinsohn go off on foul-calls disparity but I generally dismiss him as the classic homer. I wonder how he would have handled the Celtics being on the wrong side of a 27-15 foul-call split as Gordon was??
It gets worse: Vanguard shot 33 foul shots and Gordon only 14. The final score was 76-65 and Vanguard converted eleven more free throws than Gordon.
I did not check this out but it can’t be true that the three officials are part-time staff members at Vanguard. That’s humor for any of you Vanguardians reading!!
One more whine on the foul calling problem. Unless a team is of world-class caliber, the easiest way to pick up a lot of fouls is by full-court pressing. On the other hand, a team that stays half-court defensively, in either a man-to-man or zone, will usually foul less.
As far as I can tell, it was Vanguard applying the pressure, and recording only 15 fouls, while Gordon playing half-court defense recorded 27 fouls.
Anyhow, Gordon is playing a second game out there later today against Northwestern College from Iowa. With both teams being from “away,” I anticipate better results…..but we shall see.