Gonzaga screens the bottom of the zone
Earlier this season, I took a look at W&M screening the top players of the zone, helping them get open looks (seen here). One thing I noted I would have liked to have seen them do is screen the bottom players of the zone. This can be equally effective in getting a teammate open and Gonzaga demonstrates that in this play.
Gonzaga overloads the left side of the court by setting up Sam Dower and Elias Harris on the block, with Manny Arop flashing to the corner. This overloads one side of the zone, with 2 Notre Dame players to cover 3 players.
Dower then sets a screen on Carleton Scott to free up Sacre (disregard the fact that the screen may have been illegal- the focus here is the intent of the play). The screen works even though ND is in a zone because Scott has the responsibility for the area. Since Arop flashed to the corner, that wing player is occupied and the weak side wing player cannot provide help in time.
Dower’s screen takes Scott out of the play. With Gonzaga overloading the zone, that leaves Sacre open. Gray feeds him the ball and he is wide open for an easy dunk.
Many people do not equate zone defense with screening, since there is not an assigned man to screen to get a player open. The key is to find the area of the court you want to open up and screen the man responsible for that zone. Gonzaga did that perfectly and got a dunk out of it.
There are several ways to beat a zone, including screening the zone. Screens are under-utilized in running a zone offense by many teams but can be effective in getting players open. Gonzaga showed that with this play.