The Saints started out hot early, led by senior Clarence Jackson who scored early and often as the Saints started out shooting extremely hot. The Saints got up by 11 in the middle of the first half and appeared to have the Golden Gophers on the ropes.
Then something happened, the offense ground itself to a halt and the Gophers defense caught the Saints in troublesome spots. After taking a 25-15 lead, the Saints took an average of just over 18 seconds per possession up until halftime. During that time the Saints shot 4 for 12 from the field (33%) and turned the ball over 8 times.
During the whole game, the Saints found it difficult to produce in methodical offensive sets as the Saints piled on more turnovers than field goals made in 31 possessions equal or greater than 15 seconds.
|SIENA, Monday Night
|Possessions 15s or greater||6||20||9||6||31||30.0%|
|Possessions 14s or less||20||29||15||6||47||69.0%|
|0||2||3/4 Court Misses by Jackson|
The Saints were killed by turnovers all night, perhaps the understatement of Monday’s game at Williams Arena in Minneapolis. However, the Saints turned the ball over on four straight possessions just as the Gophers came back and took the lead. Later in the second half, the Saints turned the ball over on four of six possessions which let the Gophers extend the lead to 10 points.
Not only that, but the Saints also lost the game at the free throw line. Being fouled 12 times on offense and given opportunities to earn it at the stripe, the Saints made just 8 of 15 shots. The Saints made more three pointers (9) last night than free throws (8). Siena’s Achilles heel of free throw shooting appeared to continue Monday night, problem is this year the offense isn’t efficient enough to make up for poor free throw shooting numbers.
Which leads to the other part of stagnant efficiency: turnovers. The Saints scored but might be more erratic than past teams, turning the ball over 15 times in 47 high pace possessions (31.9% of possessions). It might be worth it for the Saints to continue to push the ball and hope these growing pains go away because the Saints will need layups and high percentage shots to be cashed in on when they can’t get it done in the half court.
2:10 of Production
Freshman Rakeem Brookins made a real push as he scored 12 points in relatively quick time to put Siena within striking distance late. Brookins scored on 5 of 6 possessions in which his scores took an average of just under 7 seconds. Brookins got to the basket quick and made moves to set up good shots to keep Siena in the game. It will be interesting to see whether or not Brookins can put together longer stretches of dominance as he progresses this year.