Javion Hamlet had a look from three that could have tied things. He missed. That about summed up the night. Obviously, there are many more interactions that go into a game and the sum total of those gives you the final score.
Hamlet was decent for a tiny stretch, but Tech’s Isaiah Crawford was better over the whole game. 1 Also good? Kenneth Lofton, who got some clutch buckets and showed that he is more than the chubby looking dude. Tech’s size inside has given Marshall and WKU trouble this season and helped them compile a winning record and the league’s best defense because they are good. NT got some great shots tonight — because the Mean Green are also very good.
When it came down to winning time, Tech’s guys made plays. Lofton’s ability to score inside meant NT had to double, which created an open look from three, and his size and fight got his team a rebound which he kicked out to Amorie Archibald for a three.
NT got the looks late — Bell had one — but they did not dropped. Maybe they were a little rushed, maybe they were just a little off. It does not really matter, because that is the nature of the game.
I wrote in the preview that a split here would be something to be proud of, it also is the maximum prize available right now.
It is easy to overreact to games like this. NT lost by just five, and had a shot to win it. Hamlet had a late turnover and a bad miss. He still is a good player and will likely bounce back in the next one. Everyone raves about his work ethic and we should see his talent tomorrow. He was not the only one with the yips late, however. NT shot 3/10 in its final ten shots. Tech shot 7/10. They were able to get deep position with Crawford and Lofton and get easy buckets.
NT tried to get the ball into Simmons but failed, turning the ball over or just not making the pass. Head coach Grant McCasland has to find a way to get the ball into Zach’s hands later.
I do not love the plan to double Lofton, as he is such a good passer. Still, NT cannot live by just letting him work, as he is abusing Simmons late. Getting him moving more on the defensive end is probably the best bet, but he is a talent.
NT had some stretches of really good basketball, moving the rock and finding shots. They got into a that hesitation late, and then tried to force things when the clock started getting away from them. Bell took an awkward rushed three, and Murray did something similar. This has bee something that has plagued NT against good squads this season.
NT takes on Tech tomorrow in an afternoon rematch. Game plan: get Hamlet into a groove, find a way to defend Lofton/Crawford without sacrificing open looks to the other Tech guys.
Yeah, Hamlet had just seven points, and Crawford had 27↩