ORU, I'd like to introduce you to the Washington State University Cougars. This is what we do:
Occasionally, we go through stretches where we don't shoot the ball well, or rebound well. We even go through stretches where teams shoot the ball well over the top of our grind-it-out defense. During those times, opponents occasionally take leads.
But what you don't realize is that we've then got you where we want you. You'll think you can keep making long-range shots, that you can keep getting rebounds. But then, all of a sudden -- mysteriously -- you will have gone a few possessions without making a shot. It seems innocuous at first, but then a few possessions turns into a few minutes. And during that time, we've clawed our way back into the game.
And you scratch your head, wondering how a game you seem to have so thoroughly dominated is just a two-point lead at the half. You sit in your locker room, perplexed.
Meanwhile, a wall away in the other locker room, Tony Bennett is plotting your demise. He's making the adjustments that he always makes -- the adjustments that have allowed the Cougars to go 9-2 this year in games they've trailed at the half.
You come out of the locker room, and the Cougars do these things to win the game by eight -- the game you thought you were in control of:
- Make some shots. The Cougars will be much more patient in the second half, and will use their motion offense to the fullest to make the Golden Eagles work on every possession. Look specifically for Bennett to get Low a few shots early in the half to get him going.
- Rebound better. Many of the ORU offensive rebounds have been due to fundamental breakdowns on boxing out. That won't happen anymore.
- Continue to let ORU shoot themselves out of it. The Golden Eagles won't continue to make all those long-range shots.
Then you, Oral Roberts, will become the latest in a long line of opponents this season who fall victim to the same, predicatble script.
Count on it.