Trying to catch up after a couple of days off and an extremely busy Thursday, let’s get to the point: the biggest problem for USI’s men’s basketball team this season is guarding the 3-point line. Both of the Eagles’ losses have resulted from the opposition lighting it up beyond the arc. In Thursday night’s defeat, Illinois-Springfield hit 10 3-point baskets. In the season’s first loss, Nova Southeastern also dropped in 10 treys. And USI was lucky it beat Notre Dame College, which buried 12.
What gives? Eagles point guard Lawrence Thomas believes it’s a breakdown in communication — players not telling each other when they need help guarding an opponent or not yelling out when a teammate needs help or it looks like someone on the other team is about to get open. Coach Rodney Watson takes a different tack. He insists every team in the GLVC is dangerous from long range, that you have to be ready every night for a 3-point nightmare. “Teams in our league run really good offenses,” he said. “We’ve got to know who the primary shooters are and try to get to them.”
He listed three examples of what went wrong in Thursday night’s game — the trio of 3-pointers that Illinois-Springfield sank in the last couple of minutes to win. Watson said the first trey was set up by “a good screen we didn’t get out to.” The second came in transition. “The third one was a misdirection where a guy split out to the corner,” he said.
That may sound exotic to the average fan, but it’s not. They’re all basic basketball plays. Players just have to be ready for them … and warn their teammates about them.