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St. John's 66 UCLA 63: Observations and numbers

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NEW YORK CITY - St. John’s bounced back from Tuesday’s debacle across the Hudson, to defeat UCLA 66-63 at Madison Square Garden on Saturday afternoon.

(photo by Ray Floriani)

Early observations from MSG:

Joshua Smith of UCLA was a ‘load’. Saying that in a positive way a the 6-10 sophomore checks in at 305 pounds. Smith was difficult to stop inside. He scored eight points on perfect 4 of 4 shooting. In fact the only thing stopping him was conditioning as he played only a dozen minutes the first half.

St. John’s shot selection the first half saw some rushed and ill advised attempts. On the other hand, getting in the passing lanes and simply hustling defensively forced the Bruins into nine first half turnovers (a 27% TO rate).

Half time saw St. John’s with a 35-30 lead.


Possessions

Off. Efficiency

UCLA

34

88

St. John’s

33

106

The final half:

UCLA came out to ‘win’ the first four minutes 12-8. An opportunity for St. John’s to extend the lead was lost.

For a good part of the second half neither team could build a lead or make a run of any consequence. St. John’s zoned and picked up three quarter court following a basket or dead ball. UCLA stayed man to man. Bruins found gaps in the St. John’s zone the first half resulting in inside baskets. A slight adjustment and/or UCLA’s desire to hoist more perimeter shots took away a lot of those gap penetrations the final twenty minutes.

St. John’s took a 64-58 lead into the last two minutes. All afternoon they did the job battling on the glass limited the Bruins to second chances. In the final 120 seconds UCLA converted two offensive boards to close to a bucket with 42 seconds remaining. With all the concern of the offensive glass, the game winner was supplied by Phil Greene of St. John’s. The freshman guard, generously listed at 6-2, tipped in a miss with six seconds left giving St. John’s a 66-62 lead.

The final numbers:


Possessions

Off. Efficiency

UCLA

65

97

St. John’s

65

102

The Four Factors:


EFG

FT Rate

OREB PCT

TO RATE

UCLA

47

16

43

25

St. John’s

40

22

43

17

As noted, St. John’s did not shoot the ball well but their hustle and ability to disrupt on the defensive end, forced 16 turnovers and the high TO rate. The offensive glass was concern. St. John’s did the job. They wore down in the stretch but on percentage were even and in raw numbers owned a 19-15 edge on the offensive boards.

The Scoring leaders:

Tyler Lamb, UCLA 18 points

D’Angelo Harrison, St. John’s 22 points

Joshua Smith finished with 13 points. His second half production slowed by, as previously noted, St. John’s tightening up inside and the Bruins willingness to fire from outside.

Three things that won it for St. John’s:

1. Offensive glass. The OREB pct was even but in pre-game notes we noted St. John’s was in negative numbers and UCLA in the ’black’. Simply, a Bruin strength was a glaring St. John’s weakness. The percentages were even which in itself should be considered a plus for the Storm.

2. Loose balls. Part of the reason UCLA was forced into the high turnover rate was St. John's ability and willingness to secure a ball that was free and up for grabs. They definitely outworked the Bruins in that area.

3. Coaching. Assistant Mike Dunlap and his staff addressed and corrected the rebounding mistakes that allowed Seton Hall to pound the boards on Tuesday. Dunlap also took a masterful approach, not to get down or belittle the team for the Hall loss. Rather, get them hungry for redemption at the expense of the PAC-12 visitors. It worked.

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