Tennessee State 72, Canisius 58: Three Observations

Posted at 10:39 PM, Nov 23, 2016
and last updated 2016-11-23 22:39:21-05

It was a game that had it all: numerous traveling calls, a 19-1 run amid a 7:59 field goal drought, a coach laying into a player on the bench, and all kinds of whistles with the game well out of hand.

By which I mean -- it was a good chance for a nap before your post-Thanksgiving meal nap tomorrow.

Here's what we learned from Canisius second-straight loss at home to a team from the Ohio Valley Conference:


Offensive discipline is a work in progress

Griffs head coach Reggie Witherspoon said after the loss to UT Martin on Monday that his team, at times, only gets their energy from three-point shooting. Today was proof they need to work on some more basic plays -- like layups.

"I think sometime you're trying to get across the importance of little things," Witherspoon said after the loss, "but that's not necessarily what they want to think about. So free-throws and layups go a long way, but it's not the most exciting element of a game sometimes for a player."

The Griffs hit just 12-25 free-throws, and missed by count no fewer than five layups. (The actual number is likely larger)

It's not like the three-point shooting was gangbusters either: Canisius hit just 8-25 (32%) from deep in the lopsided loss.


Discipline in general may be a work in progress

Making a bad game worse -- early in the second half coach Witherspoon laid into Jermaine Crumpton on the bench. When asked about it in postgame, Witherspoon said Alabama football coach Nick Saban described what happened between he and Crumpton best -- referring to Saban's "ass chewing" of assistant coach Lane Kiffin earlier this year.

He then elaborated, saying that he wanted to make clear where the line was, and that Crumpton didn't go over it again.

Witherspoon isn't the first coach to scream profanities while on the bench, and to his point -- Crumpton seemed to be arguing back during the exchange, which usually doesn't end well for the player.

It's not a scandal by any means, but it's not a good look either for the now 1-4 Griffs.


Is there such a thing as TOO many assists?

The Griffs had 18 assists on 19 made baskets, which in general is a good thing. But when you don't even reach 60 points, it does leave me wondering: is the reason they have such a high assist percentage because no one can create chances with the basketball?

As on Monday, there were quite a few possessions -- most notably during Tennessee State's 19-1 first half run -- where the Griffs never had a touch inside the three-point arc before jacking up a three. They would pass the ball around the perimeter for anywhere from 10 to 20 seconds, before someone would take a shot. They weren't all bad shots by any means, but Canisius couldn't get inside, evidenced by their meager 16 points in the paint on the night.

You can have guys with quick releases off the pass like Crumpton and Phil Valenti. But you also need creators. Tennessee State had several. That's just not the case on the Canisius bench.


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