Halftime Thoughts: OVC Tournament Belmont vs. Austin Peay
Austin Peay has two problems to address at the half. They currently trail 47-38.
First, they have to control the ball better. Winning basketball requires discipline and control. Austin Peay lost that during a 12-0 Belmont run.
Khalil Davis was terrible in the opening half. He coughed up three turnovers, collected zero assists, and missed all three shots. He also was sliced up by the drives of Craig Bradshaw.
Austin Peay might not have the solution in their locker room, but Zach Glotta did not play. Terrell Thompson is quicker laterally. Even Jared Savage might be worth a look on Bradshaw. Davis was destroyed by Tennessee State too.
Secondly, Austin Peay can no’t guard the non-Bradds big with Chris Horton. Almost every big in the Belmont program can shoot when left alone and Horton’s instincts are to drop down into the lane for the help defense. He left Amanze Egekeze alone three times. Egekeze hit two of those triples and will do more of the same in the second half.
Yes, Bradds is a nightmare for Horton to defend, with his quick feet and unrelenting movement, but Kenny Jones closes out on 3’s and Horton does not. It is a simple calculation.
Horton has to stay home and defend Bradds. That allows the Austin Peay wings to play straight up around the arc.
The wrinkle in this defensive concept is Belmont’s guard Taylor Barnette. Barnette had a great first half, and scored in the lane, outside the arc, and distributed well. If Barnette continues to cut to the basket the Austin Peay perimeter defenders are in trouble. Robinson and Davis do not keep guards out of the lane. Their foot speed is not better than an attacking Bradshaw or Barnette.
Defensively, the Bruins can suck in more. Only Jared Savage is hitting outside shots. Robinson is not the threat he usually is. Credit the defense? Actually, Robinson is just not hitting at the same rate as February.
In the first half, Horton adeptly drew the double and passed out of it. Kenny Jones was the recipient of 2-3 nice passes from Horton.
Belmont is exceptional when they get into quick looks. The team makes decisive, astute passes quickly. The best way to prevent this is limiting your own turnovers and transitioning faster defensively. Most of the time Josh Robinson and Savage were lagging a tick getting back. It requires more than Davis alone against the floor-flooding waves of Belmont players.