Digital Chalkboard: Harvard Alleyoop
Doug Gottlieb did a fine job of breaking down this play during the game but I wanted to add some of my own thoughts to it as well as give someone a second (or maybe first) chance to watch this great alleyoop play from Harvard. The added backscreen by Harvard added an extra dimension to the play to give Kyle Casey the extra room to complete the play.
The play begins with a ball screen at the top of the key between Casey and the ball handler, Brandyn Curry. As Harvard expected, Andre Drummond hedged on the screen to cut off Curry. This would allow Casey to roll to the rim and look for the pass from Curry. As an added wrinkle, Harvard sends Oliver McNally to set a backscreen for Casey on Drummond, to slow Drummond down as he recovers off the hedge.
McNally gets a solid screen set on Drummond and Casey is able to roll to the rim freely for the lob. UConn could have easily defended the lob if McNally’s defender was able to recognize the screen and back off the screen to help on Casey. However, he is focused on Curry with the ball coming off the ball screen and completely misses the screen.
This causes Drummond to run right into the screen, as he was not made aware that McNally was setting a screen on him. This also allowed Casey to roll to the rim undeterred, as the help defender did not sag off the screen to take away his lane. This mistake by McNally’s defender by not recognizing the screen allowed this play to work.
While some of the blame must go to the defense for their breakdown, Harvard deserves much of the credit for their execution on the set. They took advantage of the way UConn played the ball screen and added the backscreen to ensure that Casey would be able to get to the rim without Drummond defending him. Nicely done by the Crimson.