Pilots vs. USF

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Pilots vs. USF

Post by Stonehouse on Mon Feb 18, 2008 10:33 am

Well well well... just like that, we are up to our final regular season road game of the season. Would definitely be nice to win one tonight, and I think we do have a shot at it. (Yes, I said the same thing about the San Diego game, but how could I have anticipated a start like that? Jeesh.)

Clearly we are going to have to come out of the gates a lot more focused than we did against USD. That game was basically over after the first five minutes, and even though we played them pretty evenly after that point, I don't think we ever got it closer than 10 points. We absolutely can't afford that to happen against the Dons.

The big bright spot from the USD game was Sikma's coming out party... WOW! He looked so confident out there looking for his shot... I've been waiting to see him play that aggressively on offense all year, and it got me really pumped to see him finally go for it. Will be interesting to see how he follows that performance up, though he will likely be matched up against Dior Lowhorn, one of the (if not THE) best players in the WCC.

Jared Stohl also had a nice game... the kid just keeps hitting shots, and you really can't ask for more than that. Seriously, Stohl has been amazingly consistent over the past few weeks... it's nice to know we'll have someone like that who can come in and knock down shots for several more years.

As for USF... Lowhorn is their big threat (leads the WCC in scoring and is up there in rebounds), but Quezada can score too when he's on. I think he scored 17 against us up here, so if we can try and limit him, I don't think Lowhorn can beat us all by himself (though I wouldn't put it past him). Their freshman PG Myron Strong also had a nice game against us... I think he hit about three or four shot-clock beating shots that were just back-breakers. They also will have the services of Vince Polakovic, a senior PF who missed every game this season up until the Gonzaga game on Saturday, when he dropped 18 points. So we'll have to be ready to contend with him too. The rest of their line-up isn't spectacular, though Hyman Taylor is a super athletic big guy that can make some things happen in the paint.

For us... I don't know. We need a good game out of Raivio - both offensively and defensively against Quezada. Would be great if Smeulders hit some shots - he was pretty cold against USD and that hurt us. But he can score down low, so we'll definitely have to look for him. And if Sikma wants to keep attacking the basket, I'm all for it. He's got such a nice touch... I'd have no problem with him taking 10-15 shots. We also will need either Niedermeyer or Watson to step it up tonight - we'll have an advantage at the three, so we need to get some production there. Sherrard had a good game against USF earlier this season and he absolutely torched them down at USF last year, so maybe he for whatever reason saves his best ball for the Dons. Let's hope so... would be awesome if we could get 15 points out of him.

Anyway... hate to say it, but this might be our best shot to get a win out of our remaining four games. We'll have a shot against Santa Clara at home, but I like how we match up against USF better. If we can just get a win here, that would give us a little bit of seperation between us and USF and LMU. (Pepperdine beat Santa Clara on Sat., so now they have the fifth seed, and has the tie-breaker over us too.) Heck... if we beat USF and can beat SCU, we still could sneak into the fifth spot, which would be really nice because (looking forward) that would probably match us up against LMU and then would pair us with Santa Clara in the quarterfinals instead of San Diego. So getting that fifth seed could be really big in terms of WCC Tournament match-ups. (Ha ha... I'm getting carried away here, huh?)

Bottom line... I just want to see us stay competitive in this game. I was glad that the guys didn't just throw in the towel against USD and kept fighting, but still... would have been even more glad if we had a legitimate chance at getting back into the game at some point in the second half.

GO PILOTS!!!

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Re: Pilots vs. USF

Post by Pilots Bball on Mon Feb 18, 2008 5:35 pm

The main problem is that when guys do step up on certain nights, its never more than two guys at a time. I dont think that there has been one game this year when everyone played well and the whole team clicked. Thats the thing that needs to change between now and the beginning of next season in order for us to be competitive come next years conference tourney.

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Re: Pilots vs. USF

Post by mikemac65 on Mon Feb 18, 2008 6:11 pm

I thing Pilots Bball has hit the nail on the head. Consistency is the key.

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Re: Pilots vs. USF

Post by mikemac65 on Mon Feb 18, 2008 8:58 pm

One further observation! The announcer on KBNP is absolutely horrible. He drones with no voice inflection. Also, most of the time you can't really tell whats going on in the game. Several seconds of dead air time are a constant feature in his on air personna. Oh well, so mudh for complaining, but he reallly is horrible. We'll save commentary for the game later.

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Re: Pilots vs. USF

Post by Stonehouse on Mon Feb 18, 2008 9:07 pm

Darn... I thought we had a chance there when we stormed back from the big deficit, but we just couldn't get over the hump. Tough to lose that one since we did such a nice job on Lowhorn and Quezada, but Cavic and Polakovic totally killed us - they must have combined for 40+ points.

I thought Luke had a nice game - wish he would have looked for his shot more though. Stohl did what he's been doing since entering the starting line-up - knock down some shots - and Raivio bounced back well from a tough first half. Smeulders was cold again... wish he would be more consistent and realize a bit sooner when his shot is off. And even though Sherrard stepped up and hit those two threes during the come back, he proceeded to take several more outside shots, and that's just not his game.

Also, definitely nice to see Taishi hit some shots... hopefully that will help him get some confidence heading into the last few games and the tournament.

Overall, it wasn't a bad game, but still... frustrating. We're pretty much assured either the seventh or the eighth seed now... ugh. Sad

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Re: Pilots vs. USF

Post by PilotNut on Tue Feb 19, 2008 1:00 am

It was good to see Taishi start making his shots... hopefully this game gets him back on track.

I had higher hopes for tonight; another disappointing loss. I have to keep telling myself how young we are... but this conference season could have gone in such a different direction to this point if only a few plays/shots went in our favor. A little confidence would do the team some wonders...

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Re: Pilots vs. USF

Post by MesaPilot1 on Tue Feb 19, 2008 11:11 am

Stonehouse or anybody else. Who was supposed to be guarding the little guy making all of those threes? I could only get LIVE STATS so I could'nt tell who was leaving him open all the time. I don't know maybe they were setting fantastic screens or something. They sure made him look like an All-American with all the threes he made.
Disapointing game,at least there was some hope when they made that 2nd half run though.

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Re: Pilots vs. USF

Post by Stonehouse on Tue Feb 19, 2008 11:28 am

Danny Cavic is actually their SF... 6'6" maybe. So the people on him were mainly Ethan and Sherrard.

I think the strategy was to really try to deny Lowhorn, which means that we were in a zone at times trying to clog up the lane - seemed like they were double-teaming Lowhorn almost immediately any time he touched the ball. That left Cavic open, and he made us pay.

Cavic is a good shooter - he led the WCC in 3pt% last year - but is pretty much just that... usually he doesn't go off like this - he set a career high last night. So I don't think there was any way we could have expected that, especially when he hit three in the span of about two minutes.

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Re: Pilots vs. USF

Post by MesaPilot1 on Wed Feb 20, 2008 9:55 am

Thanks for the Info Stonehouse. I've got a real fantasy situation for you.
The Pilots beat Santa Clara, maybe an upset or close games with St Marys and Gonzaga. Here's the big fantasy , win the WCC tourney and get invited to the NIT TOURNEY. Oh well maybe in a couple of years if there is a JUCO on the team who can win the close games for the Pilots.
I just hope they guard Pentagraph during the Gonzaga game, he has been shooting lights out lately.Bolten seems to be having a down year so hopefully he will not get hot. Not to mention their whole bench that could start on almost any other team in the WCC. It will be good national exposure for the Pilots, maybe some kid back East or in California will get interested.

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Re: Pilots vs. USF

Post by Rob's Jacket on Wed Feb 20, 2008 10:34 am

Mesa -

The winner of the WCC tourney gets the conference's automatic bid to the NCAAs. If someone other than SMC or Gonzaga wins the tourney, then the WCC is going to be looking at three tournament teams (which would be really, really cool). As for the NIT, isn't there a requirement that the invites have at least a .500 record? I'm too lazy to look it up right now.

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