Digital Chalkboard: Lehigh Zone Offense Set
St. John’s zone defense has not been very good in their opening two games this season. We see an example of their poor defense in this play, as several of the St. John’s players blow their assignments and leave the middle of the zone wide open.
Coming out of a timeout, CJ McCollum walks the ball up the floor and Leigh gets into position to run their set. Gabe Knutson (#42) sets up on the strong side block and draws two defenders. Jordan Hamilton (#44) runs baseline to the right corner and Lehigh begins to overload the zone as they flood players to one side of the zone. Lehigh hopes that the defenders on the left side of the zone will be overwhelmed by the number of players on one side of the court and one of them will be left open.
With Knutson and Hamilton drawing the attention of 3 defenders (including D’Angelo Harrison, who followed Hamilton running baseline), the free throw line is left wide open for Holden Greneir to flash to the high post. Not only are three defenders guarding two Lehigh players on the right side of the court, Sir’Dominic Pointer is playing too high on the perimeter.
Pointer is playing too high out on the three point line, as the player he is defending is not dangerous from that far out. Even if he does catch the ball out there, Pointer will have plenty of time to pick him up on defense, if Pointer was settled around the free throw line when Grenier was making his cut. Pointer needs to be closer to the lane to help defend the entry pass to the high post. Since he is too high on defense, McCollum can easily make the pass to Grenier.
Grenier is left wide open at the high post as St. John’s suffers another breakdown in the zone. They leave a huge gap in the middle of the zone, which is already the most vulnerable spot in the zone. This allows Grenier to flash to the high post, catch the easy entry pass, pivot and knock down the mid range jump shot.
With the Red Storm making a huge run in the second half, Lehigh needed a basket coming out of a timeout. Coach Goodman drew up a successful play to overload the strong side of the zone and get an open look for his team. Although his team could not hold off St. John’s in the end, this play was a nice call by Coach Goodman and excellent execution by his team.