WVU confusion gives Marquette the final lead change
A close game in the Big East featuring numerous lead changes saw the final lead change come on several defensive mistakes by WVU. Coming out of a timeout, the Mountaineers looked confused on defense, giving Marquette an open look at a three, which missed, yet was punctuated with a putback slam.
But what went wrong on defense? Let’s take a look.
Coming out of a timeout, it was clear WVU was confused on which defense they were going to play. They had played both 2-3 zone and man during the game and on this possession, several players looked confused.
Watch Joe Mazulla follow Darius Johnson-Odom to the corner. It is pretty clear he is playing a man defense. Denis Kilici and Kevin Jones appear to be playing man defense as well.
However, look at Truck Bryant, circled in red. He looks to be set up to play a elbow spot in a 2-3 zone. There is no Golden Eagle player in his area and he appears to think they are playing zone. Meanwhile, John Flowers (circled in green) looks thoroughly confused. He would be playing the bottom of the zone, so I believe he thinks they are in man defense but he just does not know who to match up with.
Flowers does not want to pick up the ball (Dwight Buycks) but he also does not move back to the paint where Kilici has two men in his area. Instead, Buycks dribbles right up to the three point line and when nobody step ups, he launches the three.
As you can see, Bryant does not come the whole way over, proving he thinks they are still playing zone. Flowers, meanwhile, is still confused over who he is guarding but foolishly leaves the ball, even though nobody has picked Buycks up yet.
Now, onto the offensive rebound. Marquette was set up with three players in the paint area to try to get Johnson-Odom open. Although this failed, the quick shot by Marquette meant these three players were still in the area.
With Jimmy Butler, guarded by Kevin Jones, beginning to flash to the three point line, this leaves the weak side block open. Kilici puts a body on Jae Crowder but with Flowers’ confusion, Chris Otule is wide open for the putback (boxed in red).
It is inexcusable for a team to be this disorganized coming out of a timeout. There are two players who are lost on defense, which leads to the game winning bucket for Marquette. I believe this is a coaching mistake, as Huggins needed to ensure that all players were on the same page on such a crucial defensive possession.