Saturday, January 05, 2008

Cal Poly aims to shoot out of slump

Cal Poly guard Lorenzo Keeler was the first to field the question after Thursday’s blowout loss to Cal State Northridge.
What’s wrong with the Mustangs’ shooters?
The Cal Poly men’s basketball team had another miserable night from the floor in the 80-59 defeat in Mott Gym, signaling the start of what could be a long Big West Conference season if the Mustangs (5-8, 0-1) don’t turn around their dismal 38.5 shooting percentage.
“We need more confidence on offense,” said Keeler, who was 2 of 8 from the floor against the Matadors. “We haven’t shot well all year, and I think it’s a mental thing because in practice they’re going in. In the games, it’s been a different story.”
Has it ever.
Despite what Cal Poly head coach Kevin Bromley said were “three good days of practice” early in the week, the Mustangs were 19 of 56 from the field and 5 of 21 from beyond the arc in the loss to the Matadors. It was Cal Poly’s worst home loss since a 64-37 debacle against UC Santa Barbara on Feb. 15, 2006.
And this is a Mustangs team that returned a conference-high 11 players from a squad that shot 46.5 percent from the floor and 39.3 percent from long range last season. It’s a team that obviously misses the shooting and leadership presence of departed seniors like Derek Stockalper and Tyler McGinn.
Cal Poly, which hasn’t shot better than 36 percent in its past three games, is now dead last in the Big West in field-goal percentage, 3-point percentage (29.4) and free-throw percentage (61.9).
The Mustangs hope to regain their touch tonight in Mott Gym when they host defending-conference champion Long Beach State (3-9, 0-1), which lost at UC Santa Barbara 79-64 on Thursday.
The 49ers beat Cal Poly in last year’s Big West Tournament finale to advance to the NCAA Tournament, but with both teams struggling. the Mustangs are more concerned with fixing their shooting woes than exacting revenge on a 49ers squad that lost its top nine scorers and is playing for a new coach in Dan Monson.
“This basketball team has to have a nice mixture of an inside presence, penetration and a 3-point presence. When we have that mixture, we’re going to be pretty darn good,” Bromley said. “We can’t go away with 30 3s. We can’t go away when we don’t have penetration in the paint. We can’t go away when we don’t have any post touches.”
In the first half of Thursday’s loss, Cal Poly center Titus Shelton did not have an official field-goal attempt, though he went to the free-throw line once.
Despite missing their first five attempts from 3-point range, Cal Poly attempted another nine treys in the first half. Mustangs guards Keeler, Chaz Thomas, Trae Clark and Dawin Whiten finished a collective 5 of 19 from beyond the arc while Cal Poly big men Shelton, Matt Hanson, Dreshawn Vance and John Manley were 6 of 15 inside.
“We’re not on the right page right now,” Bromley said. “We just have to get this out of our system. All I know is there’s no easy solution. ... You want it back hard enough, you just have to work harder and that’s when it comes. If you’re passionate about it, work hard for it and work smart, you’re going to get where you want to go.”


Go Poly! said...

'We're not on the right page now'....What kind of comment is that? An understatement at minimum. '...want it bad enough...' What does that mean? How can I get excited about Poly BBall when they give an extension to a coach that has questionable coaching skills, does not properly prep the team for the game and has terrible game day adjustments? Ho, hum....I am waiting for FBall signings!

Anonymous said...

the coach's extension was bad, what game is the GM watching?

twice now in 5 years we've seen what should have been a contending returning teams turn into flops, this year is unexcusable. the '03-'04 team (that team beat Cal & SC to start and had a legit center and then just went into the tank) was also a collosal flop.

Granted, recruiting into Poly & the Big West is tough but that also means a good coach should be able to perform in the league

Anonymous said...

I turned down free tickets the other night to see the guy's play. I refuse to go to another basketball game until there is a new coach. Got that Cone? I spend plenty of money at football, baseball and soccer games, and have 2 kids who love sports.