Home » Columns »Your Phil of Hoops » Currently Reading:

Northeastern needs answers in the backcourt, and fast

December 19, 2011 Columns, Your Phil of Hoops No Comments
northeastern_old

BOSTON – Heading into the home stretch of non-conference play, Northeastern’s 71-62 loss to Princeton doesn’t portend good things. It’s not so much the loss as much as some of what could be seen in it, and given that this is college basketball, the backcourt questions that are raised are troublesome.

 

The Huskies only played two true guards on Sunday, and spent some time with just one on the floor. At times, the shooting guard spot was occupied by sophomore Alwayne Bigby or senior Kashief Edwards, neither of whom is a guard. While freshman Quincy Ford has some guard skills, he’s more like a big wing, with better ball skills than Kauri Black, who handled the ball a little too much on Sunday as he led the Huskies with five turnovers.

 

In light of that, it’s not much of a surprise that the Huskies had 20 turnovers in the game, with all five starters having at least two. But perhaps more important than the number is that many came at bad times. In the second half, the Huskies fell behind early as the Tigers began with a 15-2 run aided by three early turnovers. Several times, the Huskies tried to rally back, but invariably a turnover would keep them from getting or sustaining momentum. And on a day where Princeton shot 12-18 from the field in the second half, that wasn’t the recipe for success.

 

But the story doesn’t end there, unfortunately for the Huskies. It marked the fourth straight game where they gave the ball away 20 or more times, and each one has been a loss. The turnovers, along with allowing Princeton to shoot over 54 percent, helped the Huskies lose despite shooting 50 percent from the field.

 

“I think it’s decision-making,” head coach Bill Coen said. “We just have to make better decisions in those types of situations, particularly when you’re playing against Princeton, because if you give the ball back to them you have to sit down in a stance for 35 seconds and really have to guard their stuff, which is not easy to do as guys find out.”

 

Jonathan Lee, who has made admirable strides at the point even though he’s not the truest point guard, played 38 minutes on Sunday, while Joel Smith played 34. That meant eight minutes on the court were occupied by someone who is not a guard. It continues a trend in recent games, as in the prior game at Bradley, only two guards got off the bench for less than seven combined minutes.

 

This is a problem that may not get better soon. The only two guards who have seen minutes off the bench of late are freshmen Marco Banegas-Flores and Demetrius Pollard, and given the lineups that have been out there, it’s clear the coaching staff isn’t comfortable having either out there for extended minutes right now. It’s also led to players like Black handling the ball more and trying to do too much, and putting more pressure on the forwards to take care of the ball when they get it.

 

At the beginning of the season, the experience of the starting guards looked to be a plus for this team. If you’re going to have one unit be experienced and the other to not be, it’s best to have experienced guards and inexperienced frontcourt players, which is largely how this Husky team appeared although Black and Ryan Pierson got a lot of minutes last year and Edwards is a senior transfer. But now, the backcourt isn’t looking like a source of strength, and that doesn’t bode well with CAA play not being far away.

 

Northeastern has two more games in short succession, heading to Louisiana Tech on Tuesday and North Carolina State on Thursday before Christmas. After that, only a trip to Vermont remains before CAA play begins in earnest at winless Towson. There’s not much time left, and the personnel isn’t going to change, so a solution has to emerge soon if their fortunes are to move in the right direction.

Comment on this Article:







Advertisement

Coaching Changes and NBA Draft Early Entrants

The coaching carousel is moving. Keep track of the latest coaching changes right here on Hoopville.

Also, keep track of players who have declared early for the NBA Draft.

Your Phil of Hoops

Simply put, Syracuse needs to improve offensively

November 22, 2014 by

syracuse

Jim Boeheim didn’t have many things to say about his team’s offense, but that said it all. It’s at that end of the floor that Syracuse’s fate this season will be determined.

Growing pains are here for talented Brown team

November 20, 2014 by

brown

Brown has good talent and should be a factor in the Ivy League, but with three sophomores starting on the perimeter, growing pains are in the foreseeable future

New season, same challenge for New Hampshire

November 15, 2014 by

newhampshire

It’s a new season at New Hampshire, and while the Wildcats look like they will defend, they also appear to have the same challenge they have had for a long time now: scoring.

Hoopville Archives

Reader Poll

This poll is closed! Poll activity:
start_date 17/11/2014 12:00:00
end_date 22/11/2014 00:00:00
Poll Results:
Which conference will be the best one in 2014-15?

2014 Prep School Tour

Missed a recap of an open gym workout? We have them all right here for you.

Sept. 9: Putnam Science Academy
Sept 10: Commonwealth Academy
Sept. 11: St. Andrew's
Sept. 12: Northfield Mount Hermon
Sept. 16: Brewster Academy and Phillips Exeter
Sept. 17: Brooks School
Sept. 21: Holderness School
Sept. 23: St. Thomas More and Marianapolis Prep
Sept. 24: South Kent School and Kent School
Sept. 25: Williston Northampton
Sept. 28: Wilbraham and Monson Academy and Suffield Academy
Sept. 30: New Hampton
Oct. 5: Worcester Academy
Oct. 7: Brimmer and May
Oct. 8: Cushing Academy
Oct. 9: Tilton
Oct. 12: Tabor Academy and Rivers School
Oct. 14: The Master's School
Oct. 16: Vermont Academy

You can also find them all right here.

Phil Kasiecki on Twitter

Recruiting Coverage

New England Prep Schools 2014-15: looking back and looking ahead

November 3, 2014 by

nepsac

With a series of prep school open gym visits in the book and the season not far away, here’s a look back at open gyms and a look forward to the season in the New England prep school ranks.

Marianapolis Prep will battle in Class AA

October 20, 2014 by

marianapolis

Marianapolis Prep is far from loaded with talent, but they have enough perimeter talent to be dangerous. As is usually the case, they will battle and be a tough out in Class AA.

New Vermont Academy coach has put together a contender

October 17, 2014 by

vermontacademy

Vermont Academy has a new coach for the second year in a row, but they shouldn’t skip a beat. They have enough talent to win a lot of games and make a deep run in NEPSAC Class AA.

The Master’s School has good students and talent

October 15, 2014 by

mastersschool

The Master’s School has a number of good students, and they will continue to head to college later. This time around, they also have some talent on the hardwood and should win a few more games.

Rivers will try to build on a breakthrough season

October 13, 2014 by

riversschool

The Rivers School had a breakthrough season last year, winning the Independent School League. They will try to build on that with a team that loses a lot but also returns a lot from last season’s team.