I wasn’t at the Penn State game the other night. I didn’t hear one word from play-by-play announcer Bob Heussler (I was seeing Harry Potter and the Deathy Hallows, Part 1) but it’s not hard to figure out what’s wrong with the Fairfield men’s basketball team after three games.
It’s the same thing head coach Ed Cooley said was wrong after two games: chemistry.
53 points against Rutgers? 49 against Penn State?? Are you kidding???
Derek Needham had one assist against the Nittany Lions. This coming after he said he was “disgusted” with himself after the Rutgers game and vowed to pass the ball more. Does one assist in 36 minutes sound like he was passing the ball more??
And what about his 2 for 12 shooting?? In three games, Needham is now shooting 23.3 percent from the floor (10 of 43) and just 21.7 percent from 3-point range (5 of 23). he has just nine assists and 12 turnovers.
Teams are going to be playing Needham a lot differently now. A lot tougher. A lot harder. He’s the defending MAAC Rookie of the Year. He’s going to have to change his game and “grow up in a hurry” if he wants to lead the Stags to its first MAAC title since 1997.
Rutgers made a highlight tape of Needham’s exploits and got their guards fired up to stop him. The result was a 5-20 shooting night and five turnovers.
Penn State basically did the same thing. Here’s what their game recap said:
Penn State continued to play strong defense putting the clamps on a team’s leading scorer for the third straight game. This time it was Stag guard Derek Needham who under pressure from Battle and Tim Frazier and a solid team effort went 2-of-12 from the floor for six points. Needham led Fairfield, posting 16.5 ppg last season. No Stag reached double-figures as Greg Nero led the way with nine points for a Fairfield team that was held to 31 percent shooting from the floor and 20 percent (3-of-15) from three.
“I thought Tim Frazier did a very nice job defensively on the point guard for Fairfield who is a really good player,” (Penn State coach Ed) DeChellis said. “He bothered him all night. This (Fairfield) is going to be a good team in their league and is one (game) that I was really concerned about.”
Guess what? Every coach is going to be doing the same thing to Needham, starting with Phil Martelli of St. Joseph’s on Tuesday at the Arena at Harbor Yard. If Needham can’t find a way to get the ball to his scorers, like Warren Edney, Yorel Hawkins, Colin Nickerson, Greg Nero and Ryan Olander, then this season is going to end up being a lot like so many other previous Fairfield seasons: disappointing.
Questions: Why did Edney take just four shots against Penn State? How can Fairfield have 17 offensive rebounds and just eight second chance points? Where’s the defense?? Penn State’s Talor Battle shot 8 of 15 and Jeff Banks shot 7 of 11 from the floor. And no Stags player could score in double figures. That’s just embarrassing.
Maybe it’s better that the Fairfield students won’t be at the St. Joseph’s game Tuesday (it’s Thanksgiving break) if the Stags play like this against the Hawks, they probably wouldn’t show up for the rest of the season.
I know that Cooley said after the Rutgers game that he’s still trying to find the right basketball chemsitry but wasn’t that what the preseason and the two exhibition games were for?? This team has been practicing together for over two months. That seems like enough time to me to find the right chemistry.
It there a chemistry class that has an opening for a dozen basketball players? Or a head coach?