Written by Mike Ward. Media by Mike Ward.
Despite not having the leading scorer in the conference Saturday afternoon, Spalding’s Mens Basketball team left head coach George Barber and the Greenville Men’s Basketball team wondering what went wrong and why? The short-manned Golden Eagles used a barrage of threes and superior interior offense to top the Panthers, 81-61. Although the Panthers were led by Junior guard, Alex Mumphard, and his game-leading twenty points, they could not stop the Eagles’ offense or themselves from making a plethora of turnovers. Consequently, the game was never in question.
The Golden Eagles quickly got out to 11-5 lead five minutes into regulation. Shortly after Mumphard cut the lead to 15-17 at 12 minute mark with back to back field goals–one off a cross-over based drive and the other a J from the elbow. However, Spalding’s Brandon Goeing stymied the Panther’s momentum next turn down the court with an NBA range three. Shortly there after, Coach Barber decided to implement a 2-3 zone. However, this proved to be ill-advised when Spalding adjusted and went on a 14-0 run over the next 6:30 making the score 29-17. The Panthers’ woes continued into half when they decided to hold the ball for the last shot with :41 left on the clock. Jordan Smith missed a jump shot just within the three point arc and Spalding ran out the clock with lead at 43-22.
The Panthers’ shaky play continued in the second half when their first possession resulted in a turn over. However, they soon showed a bit of energy when Mumphard hit back-to-back threes at the 12 minute mark. Energy is something that the Panthers struggled with all day, but were provided a boost from Kyle Martin and Ryan Ehresman off the bench. Both demonstrated a lack of fear on the offensive end and pesky defense on the other. But their contributions could not overcome the Golden Eagles who were led by #35 Jametrius Brasher. Brasher and co. demonstrated a high level of play on both ends of the floor that kept the Panthers consistently twenty points down throughout the second half. Although the Panthers outscored Spalding 39-38 in the second half, they could not surmount a sufficient attack against the SLIAC’s leading team. The buzzer sounded with the Eagles victorious and the Panthers vexed. The debilitating defeat moves the Panthers to 8-14 and 3-10 in the SLIAC. The Golden Eagles moved to 16-7 (13-1 in SLIAC) on the year. The Panthers’ next home game is against Principia this Tuesday, February 12 at 8 pm.
Here are a few notes and questions from the game:
The Panthers Offense looked Scared: Between the turnovers and overall sloppy play Saturday one could tell that the Panthers offense looked skiddish. Besides Junior guard Alex Mumphard, the Panthers looked frightened to take shots and forced others. Let’s hope we see improved demeanor out of the offense this Tuesday.
Is senior Simon Martin fully healthy?: The lone non-transfer senior for the Panthers has worked diligently for Barber and the Basketball program throughout his career. The once scrawny 6′-5” center has grown into a consistent post player. However, the big man suffered an early knee injury this season. That being said, it is tough to say if he is fully healthy yet. He played 16 minutes Saturday, but did not have the familiar spring when he jumped and contested shots. I hope to see his play improve over the three remaining games of the season. Nonetheless, job well done on a good collegiate career.
Who is the masked man?: I could not tell if the man behind the Richard Hamilton-esk mask was Freshman Guard Ryan Ehresman or notoriously energetic NBA veteran Andres Nocioni. Ehresman showed the characteristics that have made Nocioni a staple of the NBA the past decade: wiry offensive skills and a contagious energy. The Panthers looked like a group that cared with Ehresman on the court. If this level of energy continues throughout his career at GC, Ehresman will prove to be fun to watch.
Why did the Panthers stick with the 2-3 Zone?: Coach Barber decided to go with a 2-3 Defensive scheme at the 12 minute mark of the first half until the 12 minute of 2nd half. Over this 20 minute span, Spalding’s offense continually exploited Greenville’s defense and went on a insurmountable 43-25 run over this span. The Panthers’ left wing players dramatically opened when they over-committed in help defense and were exploited by it. The Panthers looked much more comfortable when Barber went back to playing man to man in the second half.