Mount St. Mary’s comes into Rupp Arena after back-to-back BBN Showcase losses to Lamar and UAB. The Mount is 1-4 on the season with their only victory coming to Division III Gettysburg College. However, they were beating Georgetown (the Hoyas not the one in KY) by 12 at halftime and were tied with Washington at halftime. This is a team that struggles to score (60.2 points per game) and make it an ugly game and win in the 50s or 60s. They are led by reigning NEC Rookie of the Year Vado Moss who averaged just under 15 points a game last season and Junior Guard Jalen Gibbs who leads the Mountaineers with 15 points per game this season. Let’s dive in and get to know The Mount.
#15 Damian Chong Qui: 5’8” 145 lbs, Sophomore Point Guard
7.8 ppg, 3.2 rpg, 3.0 apg
Lefty. Point Guard. Very quick. Will look to push the ball fast in transition if he can. Likes to play off of ballscreens and handoffs. Will try to penetrate and shoot the little lefty floater or kick out a teammate. The deeper he drives it the more he is driving to pass. Very small so he isn’t a great finisher. Do not over help when he drives it. Just get your hands up and make him score with you between him and the basket. Half of his shots have been 3’s. Be there to take away the obvious catch-and-shoot 3’s. Will shoot it from deep; need to come out and have a hand up. You can mix up how you guard him on the ballscreens and handoffs, but I would error on the side of hopping under. He is coming off fast and isn’t necessarily thinking about shooting behind. Should still be able to contest. Better free throw shooter than finisher, don’t bail him out with a foul when he drives it.
#0 Vado Morse: 6’0″ 167 lbs, Sophomore Guard
12.2 ppg, 3.2 rpg, 2.4 apg
Combo Guard. Best player. Very aggressive offensive player. Will bring it fast in transition when he has it. Will shoot it behind the ballscreens and handoffs in the half court. I still think you can hop under the ballscreens and handoffs some, especially the handoffs because he is coming off fast and those are hard to shoot. Just have to be ready to contest if he shoots it behind. If he makes a couple early you will need to adjust and play him more a true shooter. Streaky. Really good driver, especially going to his right. Have to play him as straight up as possible. When he drives it he is driving to score. Will take some crazy shots. have to contest everything! More shots than points for him. Get him stopped in transition and play with your hands up in the half court when he is driving it. More likely to drive it all the way to the rim going right and will look for the pull-up J when he bounces it left.
#2 Jalen Gibbs: 6’3″ 185 lbs, Junior Guard
15 ppg, 2.7 rpg, 2.0 apg
Leading scorer. All-around offensive player. Capable 3-point shooter. 13 of 31 shots have been from 3 (has only played in 3 games). Better as a driver than shooter, but will make open 3’s. Take away the catch-and-shoot 3’s. No right hand drives. Physical when he drives it. Not super quick so you should be able to stay in front of him after taking away the catch-and-shooting. Really wants to drive it to his right and finish with his right hand. Make him score with you between him and the basket. They don’t play super fast in transition but they will throw it ahead to him some. Have to get back and get the basket. Don’t let him be comfortable offensively. Pressure him as much as you can in the half court.
#22 Nana Opoku: 6’9″ 210 lbs, Redshirt Sophomore Forward
8.6 ppg, 4.4 rpg
Stretch 4 man. Very athletic. Good shooter. No 3’s. Will pick-and-pop quite a bit but will roll some as well. More comfortable on the perimeter. When he pops he is looking to catch-and-shoot. Be there to take away the catch-and-shoot 3’s. Switch when he ballscreens or hands off. If he can’t catch-and-shoot he will look to drive it right. No right hand drives. If he gets it in the post he is looking to score it over his left shoulder with his right hand. Have to box him out!!! 2 offensive rebounds a game. Super athletic and flies in from the perimeter.
#42 Malik Jefferson: 6’9″ 230 lbs, Sophomore Forward
8.4 ppg, 8.8 rpg
Physical post player. Pretty good scoring it with either hand in the post. Take away the drop step and then play his left shoulder. Make him score with you between him and the basket. Likes to get to either the little right hand or left hand hook shot. Be physical and get him off the block. His percentages will go down the further away from the block you make him catch it. Very good offensive rebounder. Must box him out!!! Averaging 2 offensive rebounders per game. Don’t let him be more physical than you or play harder than you!
#13 Omar Habwe: 6’6″ 225 lbs, Junior Forward
4.4 ppg, 3.2 rpg
Shooter! No 3’s! 19 of 26 shots have been 3’s. Have to be there to take away the catch-and-shoot 3’s. Once you take away the catch-and-shoot 3, bounce back and play the right hand drive. He just wants to catch-and-shoot! Do not help off of him when others drive it. Tighten up to him as the ball gets closer to him. Will fly to the offensive glass. Strong and athletic. Box him out.
#21 Chidozie Collin Nnamene: 6’9″ 210 lbs, Sophomore Forward
3.4 ppg, 1.8 rpg
Backup post player. Play him straight up in the post. Just make him score with you between him and the basket. No drop steps. Long and athletic. Box him out.
#11 Naim Miller: 6’4″ 205 lbs, Freshman Guard
2.8 ppg, 1.4 rpg, 1.0 apg
Shooter! No 3’s! 15 of 21 shots have been 3’s. Have to be there to take away the catch-and-shoot 3’s. Once you take away the catch-and-shoot he will look to drive it right. Just don’t get blown by. Wants to catch-and-shoot. Do not help off of him when others drive it. Tighten up to him as the ball gets closer to him.
#1 Dee Barnes: 6’4″ 180 lbs, Sophomore Guard
1.5 ppg, 1.8 rpg
Shooter! No 3’s! 10 of 13 shots have been 3’s. Have to be there to take away the catch-and-shoot 3’s. Once you take away the catch-and-shoot he will look to drive right. Stay between him and the basket. Do not help off of him when others drive it. Tighten up to him as the ball gets closer to him.
Mount St. Mary’s Offense
They primarily run a ballscreen/dribble handoff offense out of a 4-out, 1-in look. Most possession will begin with the Point Guard handing it off or passing to a Forward in the trail spot and will then cut through to the opposite wing. The Forward then will dribble at the guard in the corner who is sprinting towards him to receive a handoff. They really move into this quickly and it can be hard to guard because they are coming off the handoff so fast. Due to the speed of this action it is difficult for them to stop and shoot behind it so I think you can hop under the handoff until they hit 1 or 2 behind. Once the ball gets moved ahead back to the Point Guard on the wing the 5-man will come up from the block and set a ballscreen. The screener rolls to the rim and the ballside corner will “replace” up to the wing. Pretty much everything they do offensively is predicated off of those ballscreen or handoffs and they have a few different calls to get to different alignments.
- Staggered Ballscreen. This is a double high ballscreen, generally set for either #15 to come off going left or #0 to come off going right. Usually #22 will set the first ballscreen and “pop” while #42 sets the second ballscreen and will roll to the rim.
- Stacked Ballscreen. In this alignment it is similar to the staggered, expected #22 and #42 will stand shoulder to shoulder. #42 is usually the top guy and will roll to the rim while #22 is the bottom screener and will look to pop for a 3.
- Horns Ballscreen. Start in Horns alignment (PG up top, forwards at the elbows, guards in the corners). Point Guard will dribble to the left and get a little ballscreen from the forward on the left elbow and he will roll to the basket. As soon as that happens the forward from the right block will sprint into another ballscreen and pop into the open space.
- Baseline Runner, Reject. They also like to get longer runs into their ballscreens to A) get the defense moving and B) catch you cheating and get a chance to reject the ballscreen. They start by hitting a wing off a little downscreen and having a guard run along the baseline off some screens to get open deeper on the wing. Once he gets a catch the ball side post will space out to the backside and the weak side post will sprint across the court into a screen. Watch #0 Morse reject this Ballscreen for an easy floater.
- Ballscreen into Diagonal Screen/Screener. One set that isn’t completely based off of ballscreens and handoffs is a little screen-the-screener action they run. It does start with a ballscreen set to bring the Point Guard towards the baseline. The screen will be set by a guard. That guard then runs into a diagonal screen for the player on the opposite wing who will look to get a catch around the block for an easy layup (in the clip below if UAB wouldn’t have done such a good job communicating the switch it would have been a layup). The back screener (in this case #0) then gets a downscreen from the top of the key. Watch the action below.
Mount St. Mary’s Defense
Will play man-to-man defense along with some matchup 2-3 Zone. They have primarily been hard-hedging the ballscreens when they are in man-to-man. Especially #15 will look to apply a lot of on-ball pressure but otherwise it is pretty traditional man-to-man defense. When they have shown 2-3 Zone it has been a matchup zone for the most part. This means that you follow typical 2-3 Zone principals but when the ball comes into your “area” you are matched up and guarding that player until you can pass them off to the next defender. This makes it look just like a switching man-to-man defense at times. This can be a good way at shutting down penetration. The best way to attack this style of defense is to get some ball reversals and then attack the gaps off the dribble when they are there.
One other unique aspect to their defense is that they have really tried to double the post when the ball has gone inside so far this year. They will wait until the post player takes a dribble and then come double off of the nearest player. When they come they come HARD looking to force a turnover or to get called for a foul. They will double the post even when they are in their 2-3 matchup zone as well. Here is a look at their matchup zone and them doubling the post.
Keys to the Game
- Score in transition. They will throw some different things at us in the half court, so we need to take advantage of scoring before their defense is set when possible. Push it as quickly as we can after we get stops. Throw it ahead in transition when it is open. Be ready to take and make open shots.
- More shots than points for #0 Morse. #2 Gibbs is the leading scorer and he is a good player, but Morse is the guy that can really get going. He is VERY aggressive and could really hurt us if he gets hot. Have to be ready to contest everything and make it as hard for him as possible each possession.
- No catch-and-shoot 3’s for #2, #22, #13, #11, or #1. This is not a good perimeter shooting team. If we can just not let these guys take open, uncontested 3’s they simply won’t score enough to be in the game.
- Control the glass. They have some guys that really fly to the offensive glass so we have to have 5 guys boxing out every possession. They also haven’t been a great defensive rebounding team so we need to be ready to take advantage of second or third opportunities to score.