Cougars Lose As They Struggle Inside

Kelvin Sampson in the SMU game / Photo by Mario Puente

Beyond the DeJon Jarreau situation, there’s plenty to discuss from the Cincinnati game. But I want to focus on shots, shot selection, and how that affected free throws.

Let’s start with the good: the first half. Before we go any further: yes, there’s an SMU logo where a UH logo should be. The Cincinnati SID did not change the logo from their last game.

First Half Shot Chart – click to enlarge


 
In the first 20 minutes, UH was hitting jumpers from all over the floor. The Cougars were on-fire, in fact. On anything outside the lane, UH was 11/20 (.550).

But notice close-in: of lay-ups, dunks, and shots in the lane, the Coogs were 5/16 (.312). Now compare that to Cincinnati: the Bearcats were 7/13 (.538) inside the lane. Despite UH having twice as many lay-up and dunk attempts, the teams made the same number (four).
 

The second-half chart is painful to look at: the shots that were falling in the first half didn’t fall at all in the second.

Second Half Shot Chart – click to enlarge


 
The Cougars got the ball inside much less: despite taking 7 more shots than Cincinnati, the Bearcats had a 13-7 advantage on shots at the rim (and made four more). UH was just 7/17 (.412) at the rim for the game while the Bearcats were 11/18 (.611).

Coming into the game, the Coogs were shooting .635 at the rim; if they get close to that, and we’re talking two more made shots, they win this game.

Cincinnati’s shot selection in the second half is pretty remarkable. At the half, they abandoned offense away from the goal, deciding instead to push it to the hoop and own the middle. And they did: they outrebounded UH in the half and took 13 more FT attempts. Perhaps more importantly, they frustrated the Cougars and got them to start playing out of sorts.
 

Here’s the shot chart for the entire game.

Full Game Shot Chart – click to enlarge


 
UH took 20 more shots than Cincinnati and they both shot about 34% away from the rim (UH was 16/47, Cincinnati was 9/26). It was the inside game, and the free throws that resulted, that killed the Coogs. Cincinnati outscored the Cougars 30-14 in the paint and attempted 21 more free throws (31-10).

The 64 shots were the second-most in league play for the Cougars – they took 72 against Temple. But UH grabbed 23 offensive rebounds on 41 missed shots in that game (56%). On 41 missed shots last night, the Cougars pulled down just 14 offensive rebounds (34%).

End Of Game Collapse

When Marcus Sasser stole it, hit the lay-up and the and-one with 13 minutes to play, UH was up 14. After missing their first five shots of the half, the Cougars had made five of their last six shots.

But after the free throw, Hinton and Sasser were subbed out and the entire feel of the game changed. From that point on, UH went 1/17 from the floor the rest of the game as Cincy finished on a 26-10 run.
 

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