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Early morning thoughts on Tech's (men) 85-58 victory over Saginaw Valley State
February 24, 2012 - Michael Bleach
After digesting some late night mac-and-cheese, watching a hilarious episode of Parks and Rec and getting a solid night’s sleep, I have arrived at the same conclusions I thought of as the Michigan Tech men were blowing out Saginaw Valley State 85-58.
A. The energy and response by Tech to the pressure of the GLIAC North Division title race was impressive. They started hot and maintained their edge throughout the game earning the palindrome destruction of the Cardinals. Nobody looked tight or hesitant. Saturday’s winner-take-all affair against Northwood should be awesome.
B. It probably has to do with the fact that Saginaw has nothing left to play for, but that was the most selfish basketball I have witnessed this year. It was like an NBA regular season game between the Wizards and the Bobcats. Pickup games with Vince Carter, Carmelo Anthony and a stoned Ricky Davis have more passing. The Cardinals finished with six assists on 20 made field goals and had a grand total of two in the first half.
According to Wikipedia, NASA Flight Director Anthony J. Ceccacci is one of the schools most notable alumni.
There is no truth to the rumor that Ceccacci is currently investigating black holes for NASA.
Here are some more thoughts:
1. Ali Haidar led the team with 25 points (on 7-of-11 shooting while going 10-for-10 from the free throw line), but it was sophomore guard Alex Culy who stood out most to me.
Usually content to let shots come to him in the flow of the offense, whether that be two or 12 attempts a game, Culy went hunting for his shot Thursday night and finished with 14 points (5-of-10 overall, 4-of-8 from three).
Seeing as Culy shoots 45 percent from three point range, this is probably a good thing.
“I was really impressed with the way Culy was looking for his shot and leading tonight,” Luke said. “I thought he had a monstrous game.”
2. Over the past six games Tech has shot 80 percent from the free throw line while attempting 18.5 freebies a contest. In only one game — the loss at Ashland — did the Huskies shoot under 75 percent (going 8-for-15).
Tech made 18-of-19 free throws Thursday and is shooting 74 percent on the year.
With Haidar’s propensity to earn fouls early and help Tech reach the bonus, combined with the natural slowing down of games come postseason time, superlative free throw shooting could be the difference.
“There is no question,” Luke said. “There were games (early) where we were 12-for-18, 12-for-19. But we challenged them and said ‘our tournament starts tonight.’ Free throws will be critical down the stretch.”
3. From the Scouting Report: Hesitation Dribbles
After routinely getting beat off the bounce in the loss to Saginaw in January, the Tech guards identified what they thought the biggest issue was defensively — staying disciplined on hesitation moves.
So in practice, they worked on maintaining their stance through the whole possession and not leaving their feet to contest shots.
“One of the keys today was when they come off that pick to the middle and start penetrating, they do a really nice job of hesitating and then going by us,” Culy said. “One of our keys was staying down in our stance and not letting up. We did a pretty nice job.”
4. Luker did not have to bust out the 2-3 zone Tech worked on all week in practice.
This made him happy.
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