NEC Daily Ball Screen: 12/16/21
I can't imagine it's often that a team holds its opponent to 5 of 27 from three, allows just 9 free throw attempts, and manages to lose by 18-points at home. Yet, that's what Fairleigh Dickinson managed to do last night against Fairfield.
The Stags won 72-54, as the Knights managed to make just 2 of 15 from three, and 4 of 14 in the mid-range, putting together a 37.9% eFG% and 0.73ppp.
Brandon Rush continued to be somewhat enigmatic playing at a usage rate north of 30%, and he's alternated high-scoring games with not so productive games:
This isn't to suggest Rush isn't the player we all expected; the 6'3" junior is as talented as anyone in the Northeast Conference. However, 30.8% usage, which is where he's at now after being super efficient at 20.4% usage a season ago, is just too high. In my NEC Preview, I had noted that no FDU player has had a usage rate north of 26.4% (only Darian Anderson went above 24.7%), and predicted that Rush would settle in somewhere around the low-to-mid 20s. Unfortunately for Rush and the FDU staff, no one else has stepped up to become a legitimate secondary scorer. Mikey Square had been good leading up to last night, but he went scoreless in 23 minutes (0 for 4 from the field), and Devon Dunn's 12ppg has been missing for the last two games, though he's been rather inefficient when on the floor (48.7% eFG%).
Anyway, back to last night; Herenda went with three freshmen in the starting lineup for the first time this season (Oscar Berry, Antoine Jacks, and Ibrahim Wattara). Berry scored 9 points on 4 of 6 shooting, and has been one of the more efficient Knights since joining the rotation on 11/30 against Manhattan (124.7 O-Rating on 11.9% usage). P.O. Racine, who has largely been MIA since November 20th, scored 12 points on 5 of 10 shooting, and has now played 15+ minutes two games in a row after logging just 14 minutes total in the preceding 4 games.
Fairfield was led by 6'10" Chris Maidoh, who came off the bench to go 6 of 7 from the field for 13 points and 4 boards. Taj Benning had 12p, 6r, 3a, and 2 blocks, while point guard Caleb Green had 7 assists (1 turnover) and 6 rebounds, while scoring 5 points. The Stags managed to score 1.04ppp thanks to converting 21 of 33 at the rim.