Northern Iowa Basketball

Late Night Snacks: Fresno State and UC-Riverside was ugly

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Games of the Day

1. Fresno State 39, UC-Riverside 30: Yeah, no. This is called sarcasm. The Bulldogs outlasted UCR in one of the ugliest games we’ll see this season. The two teams shot 26.1% (23-88) from the floor, while managing to turn the ball over 31 times. The score was actually 32-27 with just over a minute left before a late “flurry”. Think about this: Fresno State shot 28.2% from the floor, and managed to grab just four offensive rebounds. To get all Kenpom on you, their offensive rebounding percentage was 8.88%. That’s what happens when the team you’re playing manages to post 0.518 PPP.

Allen Huddleston led the way with 17 points, which was more than either team had at halftime, when the score 13-11.

2. Northern Iowa 84, Toledo 81 OT: The Panthers opened up a seven-point lead at one point in the second half, but the Rockets weren’t going anywhere. After trading baskets down the stretch, UNI sophomore Deon Mitchell hit a jumper with 32.8 seconds left in regulation to tie the game at 70. The end of the overtime was a flurry of excitement. I’ll let UNI’s website explain:

However, Toledo’s Brown buried a 3-pointer with 11.8 seconds left to set the stage for a frantic finish. UNI was unable to get ball in-bounds and was whistled for a five-second call giving the ball back to Toledo. But Tuttle intercepted the Rocket’s in-bounds pass and was fouled with 10.5 seconds left. Tuttle made both free throws to improve the Panthers’ lead to 84-81.

Mitchell and fellow sophomore Seth Tuttle combined for 48 points on 14-20 shooting.

3. Delaware State 73, Wagner 69 OT: Wagner forced the overtime on this bucket with 0.6 seconds left in regulation. After taking a three point lead in the extra frame, Del State scored the final seven points of the game.

Important Outcome

1. Santa Clara 74, St. Louis 62: We talked about the importance of this loss for the Billikens here, but SCU’s win shouldn’t simply be glossed over. After taking an 0-fer in league play a season ago, the Broncs have Marc Trasolini healthy again and Kevin Foster once again eligible to play alongside Evan Roquemore. A lot of people thought they could make a run in the WCC last year. Could this be the season they sneak up on the league?


1. Kevin Foster, Santa Clara: In that win over St. Louis, Foster finished with 30 points, five assists and seven steals. He also had seven turnovers, but no one else on SCU managed to score more than nine points.

2. Seth Tuttle and Deon Mitchell, Northern Iowa: Playing without leading returning scorer Anthony James, the Panthers got a huge boost from these two sophomores. They combined to score 48 points on just 20 shots from the field.

3a. Erik Murphy, Florida: 24 points and eight boards. 10-10 from the field. 2-2 from the line. A 74-56 win over No. 22 Wisconsin. Not a bad night.

3b. Gregory Echenique, Creighton: He had 13 points on 5-5 shooting, 16 boards and four blocks for the Bluejays in a win over UAB.


1. Wisconsin’s D: Florida hit 18 of their first 22 shots and coasted to an 18 point win.

2. Everyone on Presbyterian not named Khalid Mutakabbir: He finished with 13 points and seven assists. The Blue Hose lost to Georgia Tech 52-38. Mutakabbir had a hand in all but four of Presbyterian’s field goals and made all but one of their free throws. And he didn’t even play all that well, going just 4-11 with five turnovers. Yeesh.

3. Fresno State and UC-Riverside: They were really, really bad.

Three Facts

1. Greg Whittington had 18 points, nine boards, four assists and two steals to lead Georgetown to a win over Liberty with Otto Porter laid up with a concussion. He was 8-13 from the floor, but 0-5 from three.

2. No. 15 Creighton erased a 10 point second half deficit in the blink of an eye thanks to Josh Jones. He scored 10 straight to tie the game and finished with all 18 of his points in the second half as the Bluejays eventually won 77-60. Most importantly, Creighton won despite getting just five points on 2-6 shooting from all-american Doug McDermott.

3. There with 32 games played on Wednesday. Eight involved a non-Division I team. Two more included provisional D-I’s Nebraska-Omaha and Northern Kentucky. Other than the Florida-Wisconsin game, there were four BCS conference schools in action, and of them, only Georgetown has a prayer of making the tournament. The only other ranked team in action was Creighton. Yeah. Slow night.

Rob Dauster is the editor of the college basketball website Ballin’ is a Habit. You can find him on twitter @robdauster.

Michigan State playing zone? It’s possible

Tom Izzo
Associated Press
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Throughout Tom Izzo’s tenure at Michigan State the team’s half-court man-to-man defense has been a staple, and the Spartans have generally proven difficult to have a high rate of offensive success against. The reliance on that defense is why Izzo’s conversations earlier this summer about using some token full-court pressure due to the shortening of the shot clock caught some people off-guard.

According to the Detroit Free Press there’s another wrinkle the Spartans may use, and it’s likely that this wrinkle will show up more often than the full-court press. During Friday’s opening practice the Spartans worked on a 2-3 zone, and Izzo wants his assistants to make sure the team works on the defense consistently throughout the season.

That’s also why zone in general isn’t going to get heavy play at MSU, but having it as a tool could be beneficial — especially in games with touch fouls on the perimeter called in droves.

“I told (my assistant coaches): ‘You hold me accountable to working on it every day some’ … I have a tendency to drift off on that, and I don’t want to drift off on it,” Izzo said of the 2-3 zone. “But we will be, rest assured, a 90-some percent man-to-man team still and hopefully take some of those principles to zone.”

As noted in the story one of the risks in using pressure is allowing quality shots, which is why it’s unlikely that Michigan State will go to it. But even with Izzo vowing that his team will work on the zone, that doesn’t mean they’ll be playing it as often as Syracuse does.

Man-to-man has been Michigan State’s staple and it will continue to be. But it doesn’t hurt to look for other ways to keep opponents from getting the looks they want, especially if teams have five fewer seconds to find those shots.

Virginia used 3-on-3 to adjust to new shot clock

Malcolm Brogdon
Associated Press
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When the college basketball rules committee made the decision to trim the shot clock down to 30 second from 35, one reason for the switch was the desire to improve offensive production. With offensive numbers at their lowest point in years, proponents of the move see the shot clock change as a necessary move if scoring is to improve.

Whether or not that winds up being the case will be seen throughout the upcoming season, but teams are still having to make adjustments during the preseason.

Virginia, which has played at a snail’s pace (and with great success, mind you) in recent years, made some adjustments to their summer work in anticipation of playing with a 30-second shot clock. One adjustment was more games of 3-on-3 with a 15-second shot clock, which forced all involved to be more decisive in their offensive decision-making.

While the pack-line defense will always be a staple of Tony Bennett’s teams, the feeling in Charlottesville is that they’ve got the offensive firepower needed to both play faster and be more efficient offensively than they were in 2014-15 (29th nationally in adjusted offensive efficiency per Ken Pomeroy). One of the players who will lead the way is senior guard Malcolm Brogdon, who led the team in scoring and was a first team All-ACC selection, and he discussed the team’s outlook with Mike Barber of the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

And even though Anderson’s highlight-reel shot blocking was the thing that frequently fueled fast-breaks for U.Va. last season, Brogdon and [Anthony] Gill said they expect this year’s team to actually push the tempo even more.

“I think we’re going to be a team that gets out and runs more,” Brogdon said. “I think we’ll have three guards on the floor, most of the time, will be able to handle the ball as a point guard and get out in transition. I think we’ll play a lot faster.”

Brogdon and Gill are two of the team’s three returning starters with point guard London Perrantes being the other, and the Cavaliers also return most of their reserves from last year’s rotation. That experience will help them on both ends of the floor as they prepare for a run at a third straight ACC regular season title. And in theory it also allows them to extend themselves a bit more offensively than they did a season ago.