Looking back at my preview, there are certainly things I hit on and some things I missed on.
One thing I missed on, big time, was the impact SMC’s bigs would have on the game. Saying URI got out-rebounded wouldn’t give enough credit to just how dominant SMC was. SMC was +27 in rebounds for the game. PLUS TWENTY-SEVEN!!! That is just nuts. SMC had one less OFFENSIVE rebound than URI had total rebounds. The front-court players combined for 35 of SMC’s 82 points (~43%). I really thought the bigs would not be much of a factor and boy was I wrong. Certainly the absence of Mike Aaman was a major factor as he was becoming a rebounding force before his concussion.
I also had URI only losing by 15. They ended up losing by 23. I’m not sure if the team was tired after a hectic travel schedule leading up to the game (the players went home for Christmas on Sunday the 23rd but had to be back on campus for the 25th at night and then they flew out to CA early on the 26th for the game on the 27th) or not. I am hoping it was simply fatigue from the travel because that “effort” down low was abysmal at best.
The guard play for SMC was exactly like I expected. The guards combined for 14 assists (10 from Dellavedova) and only 7 turnovers, a 2:1 ratio. Stephen Holt just went off in this game. Led SMC with 17 points and went 6 for 6 from the free throw line. Not bad for a player who came off their bench.
SMC also ran an efficient offensive set which gave them many, many open shots. They had at least 4 or 5 wide open looks from beyond the arc. Which surprised me because URI has shown to be a good defensive team this season and I didn’t expect such easy shots for SMC.
In the end, SMC on took 2 more shots than URI but when SMC shoots 52% from the field and 42% from three, there was no hope for URI who shot 43% from the field and 36% from three. The 43% for URI is actually a little bit better than their average (39%).
URI was just way out of their “weight class” so to speak. Not doubt, having such a frantic travel schedule, coupled with a skeleton crew bench, compounded the issues for URI. I think the only URI players who even bothered to show up for this game was Munford and Powell. Munford recognized this and it became evident that he tried to put the team on his back and do it all himself. He showed just how proficient of a scorer he is. URI needs to design plays to get him open.