Bumped. GO BRUINS. -N
[Edited and expanded from original comment]
Reading the majority of responses from fans (to use the term lightly) from other fansites, it was absolutely appalling and embarrassing at how negative they were towards CBH and how this game transpired. Arizona State is a top 15 team and second-best in the conference, and we stayed neck and neck (even taking a double-digit in the second half) throughout the game. We may have looked god-awful offensively the last 8 minutes and in OT, but we were going up against a fantastic zone defense, an unstoppable and superb athlete, and the normal SPTR's, and considering all of that, we were still able to send it to OT and have chances to take the lead and win the game. We should be happy that our defense pulled through multiple times and kept this game close when we didn’t score a field goal for 12 minutes. In many ways, I'm actually glad we lost because had we pulled it out, I think it would have masked many of the problems that need to be addressed following this game.
To address those who say CBH does not know how to plan against and defeat a zone defense: Our offense was clicking for 75% of the game, and the minutes leading up to our drought showed just how potent and athletic our offense could be. How did we take an 11-point lead midway through the second half? By executing on offense and getting wide-open looks. Had we been shooting as we normally do (Roll airballing an open 3, for example, is not normal), this game very well could have turned into a rout.
Having said all of that, a 12-minute drought without a field goal is nothing short of an offensive disaster, and two things contributed to this, among others (one of them NOT being CBH’s offensive philosophy and coaching):
- Arizona State’s defense + UCLA not being great against quality zones. I feel we were becoming a bit overconfident in UCLA’s ability to beat a quality zone. The teams whose zones we were picking apart are teams who do not specialize in zone defense, so we should have been expected to play well against them with the shooters and playmakers we have. Arizona State plays all zone, all the time, and similar to Michigan, because of how difficult their zone is to play against, we had troubles. Remember, we are most certainly not the only ones to have struggles against Arizona State's zone; there's a reason they use it every game for 40 minutes and win a lot of games.
- Depth. This is probably what contributed to our drought most, and it kind of puzzles me. While I am no position whatsoever to be questioning CBH’s coaching decisions, I can’t help but wonder why he stuck with the same 5 or 6 players throughout the game, and more importantly those last 10 minutes of regulation and OT. Our players are well-conditioned and can play for long stretches of time without getting tired, and we’ve seen that in action many times. This game, it was plainly obvious our key players, DC in particular, were just gassed out, and that was a main reason why we were so stagnant and unaggressive on offense.
I agree with muircoach in the postgame comments that having Roll, Drag, and Shipp in the game is not a very effective combo (it was them + DC + Aboya for the last 10 minutes, throughout the offensive drought). All three of these players are primarily shooters and do not have the athleticism nor the talent to break down and drive by a zone defense. DC was the only one out there who had the capability to break down the defense (and he was able to multiple times throughout the game), but because of how tired he was, he wasn’t able to do it on his own, and when he did create, he wasn't able to finish. I think we needed a larger rotation to get DC and the rest of the starters rest, and I would say ML and JA in particular could have helped tremendously in getting starters rest and giving us the ability to break down the zone.
The refs definitely contributed to the loss, but they did not account for our nonexistent offense and inability to put the game away. Our defense played well enough to keep us in the game, but our offensive struggles down the stretch outdid any superb defense we may have played. This is a learning experience for the team, but it’s a long season, and let’s hope the Bruins will come back strong from this tough, frustrating home loss.