Sunday, February 15, 2015

Manhattan 79, Fairfield 70: Ray Floriani's Tempo-Free Analysis

"The 6th Borough" looks on as Manhattan battled Fairfield at Draddy Gymnasium. (Photo courtesy of Ray Floriani)

Bronx, NY­ - With a strong second half showing, Manhattan defeated Fairfield 79-70 at Draddy Gymnasium on Sunday. The win, less than 48 hours after a heartbreaker against Iona, was sparked by a strong defensive effort. The pace and possessions:

Possessions: Fairfield 67, Manhattan 65
Offensive Efficiency: Manhattan 122, Fairfield 105

The Four Factors:
eFG%: Fairfield 59, Manhattan 55
FT Rate: Fairfield 68, Manhattan 46
OREB%: Manhattan 30, Fairfield 29
TO Rate: Fairfield 30, Manhattan 12

What Fairfield did well: Get to the line. The Stags attempted 40 field goals and 27 free throws. The result? A 68 percent free throw rate. They shot 23-of-27 at the charity stripe, an impressive 85 percent clip. A 7-of-18 (39 percent) showing from three-point range increased the Stags' eFG percentage.

What Manhattan did well: Care for the ball on offense, and disrupt on defense. Only eight turnovers resulted in an excellent 12 percent turnover rate for the Jaspers. On defense, they frequently double-teamed ball handlers on the perimeter, making it difficult for Fairfield to execute their offense. Manhattan forced 20 turnovers and an excellent 30 percent defensive turnover rate.

Leading scorers and Offensive Efficiency:
Fairfield: Marcus Gilbert, 24 points (OE .600)
Manhattan: Emmy Andujar, 22 points (OE .600)

Gilbert, a 6-6 forward, drew fouls, and converted, as he was 11-for-12 from the charity stripe. Manhattan's Shane Richards finished with 20 points, all following the intermission.

The Jaspers enjoyed a 28-14 points in the paint advantage. Closely related was their 26-14 edge in points off turnovers.

The play is the thing: Roughly six decades ago, Dean Smith was using points per possession as an Air Force assistant. The late North Carolina mentor calculated a possession as ending on a field goal attempt, basket or turnover. Today, offensive rebounds extend possessions, but Smith’s formula still lends credence as a "play." Calculating plays, you add field goals attempted, free throws attempted divided by two, (allowing for one-and-ones) and turnovers. Divide points by that figure for PPP, or in this case, play per possession. The play results:

Plays: Manhattan 76, Fairfield 74
Plays per possession: Manhattan 1.04, Fairfield 0.95

All in all, it was a very efficient showing on both ends, offense and defense, by the Jaspers.

Manhattan is now 10-6 in the MAAC, while Fairfield, who defeated the Jaspers in December, is 4-12.

Final Thought
“This is not like last year’s team that could hold people to shooting in the thirties from the floor. This team has to pressure the ball and create turnovers.” – Manhattan coach Steve Masiello

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