The Redhawks frustrated 6-5 junior sharpshooting forward Felix Von Hofe into a 2 point, 1-of-9 shooting night, both contesting and running Von Hofe off of the three-point line. Von Hofe, averaging 23 points and six made threes over his first two games, recently scored 25 points (7-f-12 from three) against Seattle, and was clearly the focal point of Coach Cameron Dollar’s defensive scheme. Seattle employed both 3-2 and 2-3 zones for the entirety of the game, but shaded help towards Von Hofe in the corner, ceding perimeter jump shots to other players and removing the Eagles’ zone-buster. While Von Hofe possesses a lightning quick, smooth high release with 25-foot range, his lack of ball skills both dribbling and passing attacking closeouts was exploited by shot contests and frequent traps.
As a counter to the Redhawks’ zone defense, Eagles Coach Jim Hayford ran a 4 out, 1 in offense with 6-8, 230 pound stocky senior forward Venky Jois operating as the playmaker in the middle. Jois kept the Eagles close as he stood out as the best prospect in the game, showcasing his athleticism in a reverse dunk in transition, and protecting the rim defensively with five blocks. He utilized his strength and vertical explosiveness finishing through contact to overcompensate for his length disadvantage against players like Seattle’s 7-3 redshirt freshman Aaron Menzies. Perhaps miscast in more of a facilitating role instead of purely a finishing role operating out of the middle of SU’s zone defense, Jois committed six turnovers, often overpassing right into anticipating SU guards. 6-0 senior guard Austin McBroom chipped in with 11 points , going 3-of-10 from three, and 6-6 sophomore forward Bogdan Bliznyyuk added 11 points as well. EWU took 56 percent of their shots from three-point range and only got to the foul line five times.
As for Seattle, 6-11 senior center Jack Crook led the charge at the foul line, totaling 5-of-10 from the stipe in route to 17 points and eight rebounds. The Redhawks featured numerous post ups in attempt to pound the ball inside utilizing Crook’s size advantage. Lacking the soft touch to finish in the post and the athleticism to out-jump Jois, the big-bodied Crook relied on open dump-off finishes and drawing fouls based on his enormous frame to score. Seattle’s foul-drawing siege was also spearheaded by the penetration and entry passes from 6-5 junior guard Brendan Westendorf (six assists). Westendorf, due to his positional size, was able to navigate his way into the lane off of stack sets against EWU’s man defense, normally drawing the 6-0 McBroom and outmuscling him to get to the foul line himself despite not having the leaping ability to finish over length (4-of-6 from the stripe). His height advantage also allowed for easy post entries to Crook or Menzies when the smaller EU defenders tried to front the post and rotate from the weak side. While Westendorf does not have an explosive first step or advanced handle, his combination of size and above average athleticism is exemplified by his rebounding for the position (9 rpg). The contributions from Crook and Westendorf inside helped the Redhawks overcome only making one three on five total attempts.
This article was written by Cole Zwicker, a correspondent and scout for NetScouts Basketball. You can subscribe to our RSS feed from the upper right corner of our home page, follow us on Facebook, or on twitter.
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