William & Mary 75, Manhattan 70
The motion set that head coach Barry Rohrssen prefers rarely leads to anything better than a forced jumper as the shot clock winds down.
In the motion offense, the Jaspers lack fluidity. It's always pass...dribble...dribble...pass...dribble...dribble (times seven)...shot. The lethargy expressed by Manhattan in this offense completely defeats the purpose of implementing it; it's called MOTION for a reason!
However, when the Jaspers improvise—think Antoine Pearson or Darryl Crawford driving and either finishing or dishing to an open big or shooter—they put points on the board.
The two best plays Manhattan ran today involved a Pearson crossover, which fooled the defender, forced the defense to shift, and enabled a wide-open Jasper to receive Pearson's pass under the basket for a layup.
If Rohrssen continues to insist on using his motion offense, the Jaspers need to move quicker in order for it to be effective.
It's clear that Manhattan does not have confidence in its big men, who combined for 13 of the team's 57 field-goal attempts. Today, the Jaspers flourished from the perimeter (11-of-25), but their hands won't always be this hot.
Manhattan's perimeter defense was beyond abysmal this afternoon. When the Jaspers allowed 32 three-point attempts against N.J.I.T., they did not suffer. Unfortunately for Manhattan, William & Mary was a much better shooting team than N.J.I.T. and connected on 12-of-26 treys.
In order to prevent so many open threes, Manhattan needs to become more organized defensively. There were too many unnecessary double teams and switches, leading to a countless number of uncontested treys.
The full-court press was worse than ineffective. The Tribe had no difficulty breaking the press, which led to plenty of fast-break points. When Manhattan didn't let William & Mary pervade the press, the Jaspers committed foolish fouls. The Jaspers need to work on the press because an effective—at least not ineffective—one could have reversed today's outcome.
Individual Player Analysis
The suspended Rico Pickett is deeply missed. Yes, he did not play well in his first two regular season games, but his passing and shooting ability are desperately needed in order for the Jaspers to be successful. Dressed in a black warmup suit, Pickett was enthusiastic while sitting out. Hopefully his suspension will be lifted soon.
Knocking down 5-of-8 threes and scoring 24 points, Antoine Pearson was the star for Manhattan. There aren't many—if any—MAAC guards quicker than the 6'2" Pearson.
Nick Walsh provided a hot hand off the bench. In 29 minutes, the Riverdale native established career highs in three-pointers made (four) and points (16). His defense cost the Jaspers some points, but he's a much needed instant scorer with Pickett out.
Entering the contest averaging 15.5 points and 9.5 rebounds per game, Darryl Crawford struggled immensely today. He shot 2-of-11 from the floor before receiving a double technical foul, which ejected him from the game. Hopefully, the senior won't be suspended—he is an essential part to the Jaspers' offense.
Patrick Bouli, who scored nine points on 3-of-7 shooting, is slowly becoming more aggressive on the offensive end. The Cameroon native has a pretty soft stroke from beyond the arc, and Manhattan will need him for consistent offense while Pickett endures his suspension.
Defensively, there is no Jasper better than Bouli. He was the lone tenacious defender on the perimeter today.
After corralling six of his 10 rebounds off the offensive glass, Laurence Jolicoeur is still the King of the O-Board. The 6'9" center's foul trouble limited his playing time, but he managed to contribute eight points and recorded a key block down the stretch.
Andrew Gabriel needs to become more active on offense by asserting himself as a low-post presence. His defense was hampered by a combination of laziness and foul trouble—he eventually fouled out—and cost Manhattan some points.
Djibril Coulibaly was a non-factor on offense and his defense was relatively mediocre today. Like the rest of his team, he was occasionally responsible for leaving a member of the Tribe wide open.
Crawford's ejection ignited the Jasper Jungle, which was inappropriate and hilarious as usual.
Bizarrely, the cheerleaders did not realize that Manhattan wore its home white uniform and William & Mary wore green, so they still chanted, "Let's go Green." I'm not saying that was the reason for the loss, but come on.
Photo from GoJaspers.com