Game #9-317: Saint Mary`s Gaels at Portland PilotsJanuary 19, 2013 10:30 pm
Going into Portland's game with Saint Mary's Saturday, I was feeling hopeful about the Pilots' chances. Portland had been beaten by Gonzaga two nights earlier, but they had also played well for stretches.
I was wrong. Very wrong.
The Pilots' 60-38 loss to the Gaels is about the worst college game I can remember. The Pilots really had no offense to speak of. Their first 10 possessions resulted in four points over six minutes of game action. They were still in it because at that point the score was just 7-4 SMC, but even that didn't last long. Most Pilot possessions consisted of passing the ball around the perimeter while nobody really wanted to step up and take a shot, until somebody settled for a contested jumper. The other usual outcome was to give the ball to a post player who would pump fake, hesistate, and generally not go strong to the basket. Outside of Ryan Nicholas having 10 rebounds in a typical hard-working performance, and freshman guard Oskars Reinfelds scoring 7 and continuing to adjust well to the college game, it's hard to call any of the Pilots' performances all that good.
Of course, these scenarios assume the Pilots actually got a shot off. Turnovers have plagued them for the past two seasons, and in this game they had 17. You're not going to score if you can't take shots. And the Pilots commit every kind of turnover: forced passes through the defense, losing dribbles, overthrowing teammates, travels, even a five-second call trying to inbound the ball.
Portland has struggled to score this season; that's not a secret to any Pilot fan. But Saturday night was a new low. How low? Try ten field goals made. In the entire game. With a shot clock. A sportswriter told me after the game it was the worst Pilot performance he'd ever seen, and he's been going at least a decade longer than I have (and I started in the mid-90s). I tend to trust to his knowledge of these things, and he's generally a very positive person, so when he says something's bad you have reason to listen.
There are two teams in a basketball game, however. The other team, Saint Mary's, may have won easily, but they didn't look all that great in doing so. Matthew Dellavedova, their best shooter, had an off night, going 4-13 from the field for 11 points. Stephen Holt, another quality guard, was 3-10 and scored 13. In the end, though, SMC had more talent than Portland and was able to pull away in the second half after being up 29-19 at the end of a very excruciating first half. The game lacked flow, marked by constant fouls on rebounds and off the ball (Gaels coach Randy Bennett spent the night expressing his chagrin about all this to the officials, earning a coaching box warning in the process).
After a game that, ironically, I'm probably going to remember because of how much I want to forget it, Portland is struggling as much as it ever has in Eric Reveno's tenure. They have two more home games this week, and Thursday's, against San Francisco, is winnable. That's the good news. The bad is that Saturday BYU comes to town. If the Pilots don't show improvement by then, I can only hope the game against the Cougars is not a sequel to their loss to the Gaels.
SAINT MARY`S 60, at PORTLAND 38
SAINT MARY`S 15-4 (4-1) -- L. Jackson 8-12 4-5 23; M. Dellavedova 4-13 2-4 11; S. Holt 3-10 5-6 13; B. Waldow 6-8 0-2 12; B. Levesque 4-8 0-2 8; J. Walker III 0-2 1-2 1; J. Page 2-3 0-0 5; J. Giusti 1-2 0-0 2; M. Young 1-2 0-0 3; M. Hodgson 1-3 0-0 3; K. Rowley 1-2 0-0 2; E. Petrulis 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 23-54 8-16 60.
PORTLAND 8-12 (1-4) -- D. Rodgers 2-3 0-0 4; R. Nicholas 1-8 2-2 5; K. Bailey 3-11 1-2 7; O. Reinfelds 2-4 2-2 7; T. van der Mars 1-3 5-8 7; R. Barker 1-7 0-0 2; K. Thieleke 0-1 0-0 0; B. Pressley 0-1 3-6 3; T. Riley 0-3 2-2 2; J. Bailey 0-0 0-0 0; J. Ehlers 0-1 1-4 1. Totals 10-42 16-26 38.
Three-point goals: SMC 6-18 (M. Hodgson 1-2; J. Page 1-1; M. Young 1-1; M. Dellavedova 1-5; B. Levesque 0-2; S. Holt 2-5; E. Petrulis 0-1; J. Walker 0-1), PORT 2-9 (T. Riley 0-1; K. Thieleke 0-1; R. Nicholas 1-2; K. Bailey 0-2; B. Pressley 0-1; O. Reinfelds 1-2); Rebounds: SMC 29 (S. Holt 6), PORT 32 (R. Nicholas 10); Assists: SMC 14 (M. Dellavedova 6), PORT 5 (R. Nicholas 1); Total Fouls -- SMC 21, PORT 18; Fouled Out: SMC-M. Young; PORT-None.