Devils downed by Dawgs

Alright, before I get to some random musings about a magnificent 49-42 win for the boys team on the road at Shore Regional, I’d like to apologize for not updating this blog more often.  It has been a busy week with midterm exams (yes, in addition to running the Dawg Report, I am a full-time student), but with all that out of the way, its time to get back to basketball.  It certainly is nice for me to get to see some winning basketball out of this team for two reasons: 1) I get to watch plenty of losses when I turn on the Rutgers mens basketball games, and 2) This team has had potential to play like they have the past 2 games since the start of the season, and it appears they are finally putting together.

Here are some key themes that I saw in the wins against Holmdel and Shore Regional.

1) The re-emergence of James LeCardi as an offensive threat. For those that followed this team last year, you’ll remember that Matt Blumel and James LeCardi shouldered much of the load offensively.  This year, we’ve seen big men Justin Hook and Dean Wise get much more involved, with Blumel still being the leader on offense, and LeCardi being more of a distributor.  However, the past two games we saw James start to establish himself a bit more on the offensive side of the ball, with 14 points against Holmdel and 9 against Shore Regional.  What does this mean for  Coach James Young’s squad?  LeCardi as an offensive threat is nothing but good, as you can never have too many offensive weapons.

2) Response to adversity.  This is probably the most important thing I noticed about this team in their games against the Hornets and Blue Devils.  Early in the season, when a team would make a run, it was obvious that RFH went into panic mode.  Whether it was the coaches or the players, it was very clear that at the first sign of adversity, this team really didn’t know how to respond, which resulted in a lot of those losses early on.  Anyone notice how this team has dealt with adversity during the past two games?  Down 21-6 early on against Holmdel, and Coach Young puts in the subs, who proceed to close the gap by halftime.  Vito Merla of Shore hits a three late in the 4th quarter to cut the RFH lead to 1; no biggie, the Dawgs go on a mini-run, capped by a Hook throw down, and they win the game going away.  It has been night and day these past 2 games as far as how this team responds to runs by their opponent.

3) Late game foul shooting. Couch Young harps on this in all of my interviews with him.  Fourth quarter foul shooting has plagued this team and cost them several games over the course of the season.  Anyone have any guess on the Dawg’s free throw percentages during the fourth quarters of the games against Holmdel and Shore.  8-8 against Holmdel and 6-6 against Shore, making it 14-14 over the past two fourth quarters.  If RFH continues to shoot free throws like that down the stretch, it will bode very well for this group.

That’s all for now, folks.  See you on Thursday night for the re-match with Red Bank Catholic.


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