After a much-needed day off on Wednesday, Houston returned to practice Thursday to watch some film and worked on Saint Mary’s sets. The Coogs and the Gaels play Saturday night at Dickies Arena in Fort Worth.
The Houston staff are worried about how the Gaels defend. The Gaels play a drop pick-and-roll defensive scheme, and they don’t help the helper. Their center Mitchell Saxen drops back to defend the rim, encouraging the roller inside but not giving him much space to work. The Gaels are not shot blockers, but they do collapse in the paint, leading to a lot of steals. They run a pick-and-roll-dominated offense with Saxen getting a lot of work on high ball screens or directing traffic from the elbow.
Coach Randy Bennett has been at Saint Mary’s for 22 years and has had his West Coast Conference team in the postseason every year since 2007. They’ve won first-round NCAA games in two of the last five tournaments, including an 82-53 pounding of Indiana in March.
Some clips from Thursday evening’s media availability:
Kelvin reframes a question and how the last game has nothing to do with the next game:
Kelvin Sampson on St. Mary’s toughness and how you approach the next game:
Jamal Shead talks about continuing his development into a complete all-around point guard:
Jarace and J’Wan shooting threes: This drill forces the duo to make 6/8 combined (Jarace shoots two, J’Wan shoots two, then they repeat) and does not allow them to miss two in a row. It is done virtually every day.
They also do a drill where they have to make 42/50 free throws.
Ryan Elvin is often the last player in the gym. With managers shooting on the other end, he continues working on his three-point shot: