Breaking down Wichita State’s last second play
In what was a great finish to the first game of the 2011 BracketBusters weekend, Wichita State had a sideline out of bounds play with 0.4 seconds left down 1. This gave them enough time to catch and shoot and Gregg Marshall had an excellent play in his back pocket that almost got the Shockers the win.
Although there was time to catch and shoot, the defense had to assume that the offense was at least going to look at the rim for a lob. VCU did a great job of protecting the rim but it left them vulnerable on the three point line.
JT Durley is going to slide off the backside of his teammate and roll around the backside to get a lob on the far side of the basket. He goes before the inbounder gets the ball but this is a smart play since Wichita State has no timeouts. They can’t take a 5 second call and they need to be able to run through their options, so the inbounder needed to be able to make a quick read once he got the ball.
Three VCU defenders key in on Durley (circled in red). The one you want to focus on is Joey Rodriguez, the defender on the right side of the screen. His man goes to set the second screen for David Kyles and Rodriguez sagging down that far is what gets Kyles open.
I wonder if the roll by Durley was not the first option but just a token action to get the defense focused on protecting the basket, while opening up the top of the key. VCU sent two defenders into the paint to protect the rim but it left them vulnerable elsewhere, as we will see.
Kyles rubs his man off of the initial screener before getting a second screen from his teammate coming in from the wing. Kyles is able to loop his cut so he can catch the ball while turning toward the basket to get a shot off before the clock expires.
I have to give credit to Marshall for his diagramming of the play but I have to discuss Rodriguez’s defending. I understand wanting to protect the rim and VCU did that by sending Jamie Skeen to the backside of the rim. However, how is Rodriguez going to help in that situation? He is too small to defend the lob, plus he is on the opposite side of the rim as the cutter.
I can understand wanting to help and point out the cutter to his teammates. By dropping that far into the paint, he abandons his man and he can’t help off the screen. If he stepped up to the three point line after pointing out the cutter, he could have hindered the pass from the inbounder. Instead, WSU got a pretty clear look at the basket and almost won the game at the buzzer.
I have to end with credit to Marshall for drawing up the play and WSU for executing it. I would love to know if the backside lob was a viable first option or was just misdirection to get the shooter open but it was a pretty play regardless. They just couldn’t quite finish it, as we saw with Wake Forest earlier (here).