What Happened: Appalachian State

South Carolina defeated Appalachian State 74-69 in yet another frustrating game.  Many of the same bugaboos from throughout the season reared their head on this evening, and the team simply did not look sharp coming out of the exam break.  They’ll have to improve as they head back to New York City for a non-conference matchup against Manhattan, a game in which the Gamecocks will likely be the underdog, even though the Jaspers are not very strong opposition this season.

The Four Factors

Data taken from BBState.com

USC ASU
eFG 50.0 39.7
TO% 21.9 22.2
OReb% 36.1 41.5
FTM/FTA 46.4 34.9

The surprise of the evening was South Carolina’s rebounding on both ends of the court.  It steadily improved on the offensive end throughout the game, and although 36% isn’t the level that we’ve come accustomed to this season, it’s good enough to get it done most nights.  On the other hand, the Gamecocks completely disappeared on the glass on defense, giving Appalachian State far more opportunities to score than warranted and letting them stay in the game.

The Mountaineers also stayed in the game by shooting a terrific 19-22 from the line.  I suppose being the butt of that many free throw jokes around college basketball for a week focuses a team on not looking bad in that area again on the season.  That, or South Carolina’s free throw defense simply isn’t where it should be right now (kidding).

The Gamecocks continue to win most games on the strength of their shooting, and last night was no different.  I was actually disappointed with the shooting on the evening, as the team was only able to convert on 50% of its 2PAs against a team that had been conceding 57% from that area.  For a team that focused on offense for 9 days, the execution against a weak Appalachian team was there in spurts, but simply wasn’t sustained over 40 minutes.

Personnel

Appalachian State

Name
Min
%Ps
Pts
2PM-A
3PM-A
FTM-A
OR
DR
A
TO
Michael Neal
36
25
16
4-10
2-4
2-4
3
4
7
3
Nathan Healy
33
13
7
1-4
1-2
2-2
4
4
2
2
Tab Hamilton
31
13
5
1-3
0-5
3-4
0
0
0
1
Jay Canty
28
31
16
5-10
0-1
6-6
2
6
1
5
Michael Obacha
20
13
2
1-4
0-0
0-0
2
4
0
2
Tevin Baskin
26
32
16
5-16
1-1
3-3
2
2
1
2
Jamaal Trice
22
12
7
2-2
0-1
3-3
1
1
1
1
Chris Burgess
4
0
0-0
0-0
0-0
0
0
0
1
Team
3
2
0
TOTAL
200
76
69
19-49
4-14
19-22
17
23
12
17
0.90
38.8%
28.6%
86.4%
41.5%
63.9%
52.2%
23.0%

South Carolina

Name
Min
%Poss
Pts
2PM-A
3PM-A
FTM-A
OR
DR
A
TO
Mindaugas Kacinas
34
21
12
5-8
0-3
2-2
6
6
3
2
Lakeem Jackson
30
28
16
8-11
0-0
0-3
2
5
1
4
Eric Smith
23
17
5
2-2
0-1
1-2
0
2
9
2
LaShay Page
21
23
7
1-6
0-3
5-5
0
2
0
1
RJ Slawson
13
33
9
2-5
1-1
2-2
2
1
0
2
Brenton Williams
28
14
11
1-2
2-2
3-5
0
1
4
1
Bruce Ellington
27
15
8
1-5
2-2
0-0
1
3
1
2
Brian Richardson
11
14
2
1-1
0-3
0-0
0
2
0
0
Michael Carrera
7
2
1-5
0-0
0-0
2
1
0
2
Laimonas Chatkevicius
6
2
1-1
0-0
0-0
0
1
0
0
Team
0
0
1
TOTAL
200
73
74
23-46
5-15
13-19
13
24
18
17
1.01
50.0%
33.3%
68.4%
36.1%
58.5%
64.3%
23.0%

Tevin Baskin decided he was the best player on the floor last night it seemed, as he took 17 of the Mountaineers 49 shots from the field.  His inefficiency was one of the keys to the game, as by accident or design the Gamecocks were able to keep him shooting instead of State’s other two strongest scorers, Canty and Healy.  We knew coming in that Healy was a threat, but the Gamecocks were able to keep him relatively quiet, with only 7 points.

The other surprise was how many shots Michael Neal put up for State.  While he ended up doing so reasonably efficiently thanks to burying a couple of 3s, overall pushing the offense to these guys and away from Canty and Healy was something you’d want going into the game from Carolina.  The 0.90 points per possession was one of the better efforts from the Gamecocks on the season, though still, there were far too many easy 2PAs available to the Mountaineers.  While shooting percentage wasn’t the issue last evening, it still felt like the Gamecocks left chances to deny points out there on the floor.

On our end, Kacinas had one of his better games of the season thus far, cleaning up the glass on both the offensive and defensive end (6 each side).  His shot selection probably kept this from being his best game, because while Mindaugas can shoot 3PAs, he wasn’t doing so effectively last evening at all, and his 0-3 effort from long range held him back from being a complete weapon on that side of the floor.

Eric Smith added 9 assists and limited himself to two turnovers as he continues to improve.  This was one of his finer evenings as well.  If his ball handling and control of the offense can come around, he can help this team, especially when used in combination with the right supporting cast.

Speaking of the right supporting cast, Brenton Williams and LaShay Page continue to head in opposite directions on the offensive end of the court.  Williams wasn’t nearly as involved on the evening as he has been in other games, though he still found a way to get to 11 points while only taking four shots from the field and using 14% of our possessions).  LaShay on the other hand was 1-9 from the field (1-6/0-3) and only found effectiveness when he started getting to the line in the second half.  He also was nowhere to be found on the offensive glass.  From my perspective, the coaching staff and Page need to get together and figure out his role on this team, because there appears to be a disconnect between what Page thinks it should be and what the coaches think it should be (then again, perhaps the disconnect is between what I think it should be and what the coaches think it should be).  Still, Page is taking and missing far too many shots at this point, and we need to rotate more offensive responsibility away from him.

The other big surprise of the evening was Carrera only seeing the floor for seven minutes.  He was active during that time, getting five shots off (though only making one), and grabbing two offensive rebounds and one on the defensive end, though also turning the ball over twice.  It seems fair to me that we’ll end up calling on him less than we have in previous games, but we need to get him in a position to where he can give us 15-20 minutes a night, as his energy and ability under the rim is something this team will need throughout the season.

We’ll save for last a guy who probably should’ve been first (and probably would’ve been had he not missed most of the second half with injury), RJ Slawson.  Slawson opened the evening hot, and used 33% of the possessions he had while on the floor.  He ended up only 2-5 fromt he field, but grabbed three rebounds (two offensive, one defensive) and seemed as engaged in the offense as he has been all season.  I’m fine with the shooting performance because of small sample sizes and the fact that I’ve been wanting to find a way for RJ to get more involved so as to take more of the pressure off the other four guys on the floor while he’s out there.  This was hopefully a step in the right direction.

Overall Thoughts

Another disappointing effort from Carolina.  The defense did a better job guarding the 2PA this evening, but got killed on the defensive glass by a team that simply shouldn’t have been outrebounding them in that way.  Kacinas and Jackson did good work underneath, but given the limited minutes played by Carrera, Chatkevicius, and Slawson (a total of 26 between them), the other three guys on the floor weren’t giving them enough support underneath (though credit Bruce for grabbing three).  I’m not sure if those lineup decisions were by design, but I’m not sure we’re going to be able to go evenings with only Jackson and Kacinas underneath for large spells and be effective enough on the glass to win games.

We knew coming into the season that Martin liked to rotate 9-10 guys, and so far he’s kept that up here.  I’m sure he has his reasons, but this is a team right now that I think needs to start finding its roles.  In particular, Page needs to rein in some of his shooting, Ellington needs to get his shot back as soon as he returns (he had two nice 3PMs, but his 1-5 effort from 2PA is reminiscent of what he’s done this season thus far), and Carrera almost seemed to know he was only going to get seven minutes and so wanted to shoot (or turn the ball over) every chance he got.

Defensively, this is a team that simply has to figure out what it’s doing on that end of the court, because last night was a chance to dominate a team defensively and the Gamecocks did anything but.  What’s been most frustrating from my perspective is there hasn’t been a leap of improvement on that end of the court thus far.

The team has more chances to get better this week, and can hopefully go get what won’t be a glamorous non-conference win by any stretch of the imagination, but one that will be important if they want to keep playing in one of the lower-level postseason tournaments at season’s end.

 

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About marvinnedick

Blogging from the mid-Atlantic on Gamecock sports, as well as general musings on sports theory otherwise.
This entry was posted in 2012-13 Basketball, App. St., What Happened and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to What Happened: Appalachian State

  1. Pingback: Better Know an Opponent: Manhattan |

  2. Pingback: LaShay Page ruled ineligible |

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