Thursday, January 31, 2013

Trying to pinpoint the offensive dilemma

What's wrong with shooting more three's in transition?
It is no secret that Murray State struggles in the first half. But why can't we get going in the first 20 minutes?  Why does it take a second half surge just to be in a game versus an inferior opponent?

Foul trouble? Do we not take an opponent seriously until they have a 10 point lead on us? Or is it just that strange inconsistency that is found with a team who has yet to reach its peak?

It could be all the above and in some ways that may be true but to me the lack of production in the first half compared to the second is a reflection of our All-American.

Now, do not think for a second that I am criticizing the one player who consistently scores in the upper teens to mid twenties every game. I would like you to just look at the stats from some of these OVC contests.
Murray State scored  28 Points in the first half.
Three 3 minute droughts without a field goal.
Canaan scored 5 Points in the first half---Finished with 28.

Murray State scored 25 Points in the first half. Did not score in the first 6 minutes of the game. Went on another 5 ½ minute drought.
Canaan scored 7 points in the first half---Finished with 24

Murray State scored 27 Points in the first half with a 6 Minute scoring drought
Canaan scored 5 points in the first half---finished with 17 (Had 4 threes in the second half)

Murray State scored 23 Points in the first half
Canaan scored 6 points in the first half----Finished with 14.

 Tennesseee Tech
Murray State scored 20 Points in the first half with a 5 Minute scoring drought
Canaan scored 5 points in the first half---finished with 15.

 Jax State
Murray State scored 21 Points in the first half.
Canaan scored 4 points in the first half- finished with 20.

In these games mentioned above, Murray State averaged 24 points in the first half with Canaan averaging 5.3 points. Out of these 6 games Sip more than doubled his first half production 5 times. It's not always because he can't hit in the first half it's mainly because he isn't getting as many opportunities

Let's take a closer look at the last four of these games.

  • In the EKU game, Sip didn't take one shot in the first 7 minutes of the game and only shot 5 times in the remaining 13 minutes. He shot 12 times in the second half.
  • Canaan shot the ball 7 times in the first half of the SIU-E game compared to 10 times in the second half.
  • He had 5 attempts in the first half at TTU and then doubled that in the second half.
  • Isaiah shot only 4 times in the first half versus Jax State compared to 13 shots in the last 20 minutes.

There are many factors that contribute to Canaan's lack of shot attempts. Such as not being able to get open, having to be the main only ball handler and he is an unselfish player who wants to get his teammates involved.

However, one can not deny that when Canaan is getting shots off and maneuvering his way to the basket our offense seems to produce more points.

I went and looked back on the stats of a player that, because of his range, Sip is sometimes compared to. Jimmer Freddette of BYU never took less than 21 shots a game after February 19th of his Senior season. He took 37 shots in an 11 point win over New Mexico. In examining his final three games at BYU here is what I found.

  •  Took 12 shots in first half vs Wofford 13 in the second.
  •  Took 8 shots in the first half vs Gonzaga and 15 in the second.
  •  Took 14 shots in first half vs Florida and 13 in the second half.

Some may say, well Jimmer was just a special player. To which I say, isn't Isaiah? If Canaan is 0 for 5 from behind the arc when he rises up to shoot his 6th one, wouldn't we believe it's going in? I would.

I am not saying Isaiah should just come down the court and throw up whatever off-balance shot he can get. I am puzzled though as to why he is able to get so many more shots off in the second half of these games. Is it because he plays with more urgency in the second half since we are normally trailing? Does he wear down his defenders in the first half? Or is this just a random phenomenon?

Yes we need other players to step up. If Dexter Fields hits that corner shot consistently and Stacy can continue to improve we will be alright. I have said all year long that those two will be the reason Murray State does or doesn't go dancing but I have said that on the assumption that the offense will run through number 3.

And it will have to run through him for longer than just one half.

Go Racers!

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