Never forgive, never forget. That’s my motto. I think it’s healthy.
So now we get to have season without Gottlieb and Vitale and the rest breathing down our neck about our out of conference road record. I’m thankful for that at least. Don’t get me wrong, this win was incredibly gratifying, especially coming against the godless ACC. I just wish we hadn’t been forced into it by the biased college basketball tastemakers; I wish we hadn’t caved in to the pressure as a part of the deal. But there’s no doubt I’m going to relish this one for a long time.
What I don’t relish is my god damned grad school schedule and the fact that I didn’t get to witness the game. So the rush of jubilation I got in the computer lab after class definitely drew some weird looks. Hey, for me this similar to looking at porn, so I can understand their concern. And frankly, the feeling I got when the ESPN scoreboard finally loaded — and that 70-68 score popped up — wasn’t all that far from an orgasm. Am I too into this? Nah…
On to some real analysis. I love almost everything about the box score and the game report. Against high quality opposition, it certainly looks like all 5 starters played extremely well. We shot a better percentage, outrebounded them, kept the turnovers equal, put up a great (though limited) FT percentage, and got them to launch an absurd amount of threes. Most importantly, we held them under 70. On their home court no less; and this was a team renowned for its offense coming into this game. Love it!
After the break, I take a look at individual performances and gush some more:
Donte Greene put up a very inefficient 20 points (took an 8 for 19 night to get there), but when you take the team on your shoulder down the stretch, scoring 12 points in the final 10 minutes, including the biggest shot of the game with a minute to go…then your freakin’ stat line does not matter in the slightest. You are officially the man. He also grabbed double digit rebounds for good measure. 20 & 10 on the road in the biggest game of the year, including dominating the stretch run? Hmmmm…dare I say it? Nah, I won’t say it.
I also loved Flynn’s line as compared to Singletary’s. Make no mistake, Sean Singletary is a big name in college basketball. This dude is one of the brightest stars in the ACC and seriously considered going pro last year. Here’s how they matched up:
Flynn: 18, 0, and 3, with 5 turnovers.
Singletary: 10, 5, and 9, with 3 turnovers.
On the face, looks like a wash. But I have to give the head-to-head to Flynn because of this: Singletary was 3 of 14 from the field to get those 10 points. Whereas it took Jonny only 12 shots to get his 18. That means somebody was playing some serious lock down defense, and it wasn’t their guy. Jonny also dropped two clutch free throws with 5 seconds to go, an extremely good sign going forward. That scenario will come up again, I promise you.
Virginia’s stats from three also brought a smile to my face. When another team hits 11 threes, that’s generally a bad sign. But when it takes them 32 tries to get there, then all of a sudden you’re looking golden. Inducing 11-32 from three reminds me of the good old days when our zone was laser sharp. When the zone is firing on all cylinders, it’s brutally hard for the other team to get anything going inside, and they’re simultaneously lulled into thinking they’re open from three point range, so they launch all night. In reality they’re not open, they’re just getting a hand thrown in their face from a different angle than they’re used to; but by the time they realize they’re getting closed out, they’ve already committed to the shot.
I didn’t see the game, so I have no idea what percentage of the game the guys were in the zone. Perhaps these nice defensive numbers were more due to man-to-man, like the Tulane game. But I’d love to hear that the 2-3 was flummoxing yet another big shot out of conference team.
For our part, we still shot too many from deep (21 attempts), and not surprisingly ended up getting few chances from the line (11). But when SU pulls out a win like this one, who am I to complain?
Other thoughts: it looks like Devo again did a great job filling in the scoring gaps when we needed him. With the spotlight so heavily on Greene and Flynn, this dude is an unbelievable luxury. 16 points and 6 dimes, with a good shooting percentage? I’ll take it every day. Onuaku didn’t do much on offense, but I’m choosing to interpret that positively, on the assumption that he was putting his energy into the defensive end. That’s exactly what we need out of him. A stout defensive presence from our center is way more important that having a high scoring center, especially on this dynamic team. I didn’t see it for myself, but lets just roll with it, shall we?
Oh yeah, and Paul Harris. Fourteen rebounds. God damn I love that guy.