The Byrd Cage

Saturday Night: Bucs Lose, Bruins Lose?

In Game Posts on February 20, 2012 at 1:11 pm

I’m gonna go right out and say it, this game wasn’t a win for the Bruin’s brand.Certainly, we dominated a conference rival team.  Certainly, we shamed Murry Bartow in a way that he will always remember that the Bruins certainly got the best of him.  Certainly, it was good news for the Bruins to take sole possession of first place.
However, at this point in the season the Bruins are no longer playing the A-Sun but rather every other team crammed inside the March Madness Bubble.  Granted, an at-large bid is highly unlikely if the Bruins fail to win their fifth A-Sun title- what they are playing for is national attention.  The more attention Belmont gets, the higher their tournament seeding, and the more likely Belmont will draw a team they can beat.
Where Belmont lost on Saturday night:
Blake Jenkins:

Blake Jenkins has been the Byrd Cage’s heart-throb as he has arguably been the breakout player of this season.  He did end the game with a double/double (12 points, 12 boards) but his Achilles heal is in ball control.  Remember that 106 point game against Stetson?  He was a complete non-factor playing just 13 minutes scoring 4 points and grabbing zero rebounds.  Do you know why?  Because he gave up 4 turnovers in that game!  Saturday night was a similar story, however, coach Byrd didn’t bench him this time and his free throw shooting (8 for 9; 89%) bailed him out of being a statistical washout: he was 40% from the field and gave up four turnovers.  Giving up four turnover to a bad team like ETSU only makes you worry about what Jenkins will do when pressed by a good team.  ETSU played zone for most of the game.  What is Jenkins going to do when played against a guy who is bigger and more athletic in a man to man situation?


In a blowout win against ETSU Drew Hanlen and Ian Clark managed to play 35 and 33 minutes, respectively.  Off the bench, Scott Saunders really struggled getting the ball to the rim against the ETSU’s Hack-a-Scotty defense (did I mention the zone).  My biggest critique of Saunders‘ post play is that he habitually takes the ball down before bringing it back up.  It seems that slapping his arms and making him shoot free throws (career 67% shooter) is the best way to take points off the board.
Also, our burgeoning sixth man, J.J. Mann, shot an anemic 1 for 5 from the field and put up a doughnut from behind the arc.   He also turned the ball over when the Bucs started to press, which in Coach Byrd’s book usually equates to a one way ticket to the bench.  And speaking of the press, against this very bad ETSU team (did I mention they ran a zone for most of the game), Belmont as a team looked skittish against the full court press, which contributed to 14 turnover, a few balls were swatted out of bounds as well, which could have made for even more turnovers.

If you take away Blake’s 12 boards, no one did well grabbing the ball.  Mick and Scott, who average a combined 10.7 boards per game came away with only 6 together.  Granted, we won the rebounding game (barely) but we gave up 14 offensive boards (compared to our season average of 12, which is still bad).  In my assessment allowing ETSU to grab 14 second chance boards, when their tallest starter is 6’-8” and their leading rebounder is a 6’-4” guard, you have got to dominate the boards.  This is going to be another struggle for Belmont if they get the chance to play a top-25 team again this season.


On a night when the Bruins took a step forward into first place in the conference, they took a small step back in terms of the national picture.  However, the silver lining is that we really haven’t seen the Bruins fire on all cylinders this season.   It seems that when one player steps up another decides to lay an egg.  IF the stars can align and this very talented yet inconsistent 2012 Bruin team can get every player to fully fill their role, then the Bruins have a chance at riding a magical pumpkin into the NCAA tournament.

-Steven Lefebvre

What do you think?  Agree?  Disagree?  Leave it in the comments.
The Bruins’ last home game is tonight against USC-Upstate.  Tip-Off is at 7:00 C.T.
  1. I’m going to take the dissenting opinion on Blake. It’s the same as the Jeremy Lin argument. Lin turns the ball over a lot, but the good things he does outweigh those errors. I think the same is true for Blake. He’s going to turn the ball over but he’s also shooting 61% over the last 6 games.

  2. Blake’s four turnovers were not a normal four turnovers. Did this author watch the game or just look at the box score? One turnover came after a huge defensive board. Blake was then pushed out of bounds. The wonderful ASUN officiating crew thought he just decided to walk out of bounds and gave the ball to ETSU. The second came after another huge rebound where he fell on Mick who was sprawled out on the floor. Hard to keep your balance on another human so, another turnover. Excellent game by Blake. Next level game by Blake. I wish people on this site would watch games instead blab about jargon in the box score.

  3. however, when blake starts turning the ball over generally his minutes begin to suffer as well… again, i would like to emphasize, 4 turn overs against the zone… what’s gonna happen when a top-25 school puts the heat on him? he gets benched… we have no forwards

  4. Blake Jenkins is a major reason, if not the MAIN reason this team has been playing well. This team won by a whopping 22 point margin, brah. Sticking with Linsanity on this one. Blake’s game is not seen in the stats, it is seen largely in flow of the game and defense. No argument here about Jenkins’ effectiveness.

  5. i saw the game… i love blake jenkins… sooooo emotional…

    you can’t argue that the bruins looked bad when pressed and blake at times over committed and was out of control, thus causing turn overs…

    for A-Sun play they played a great game… as far as a team poised to make a sweet 16 run, they look far from it right now… that’s what the article is about…

  6. I think I’m with the dissenters here. Didn’t see the game like that. A Belmont double double is nothing to shrug at.

  7. my argument is that we are better than this… if you want to argue with that… who’s the negative nancy now???? haha

  8. I haven’t seen Jenkins play much this year, but what i do know is that a Rick Byrd coached team always comes up big when the money is on the line! They will get that final A-Sun bid and i predict a 1st rd win this time. Their style of play is very conducive to the NCAA tourney and his coaching acumen is up there with the best of them(just ask Coach K). Relax my man, and just enjoy the ride!

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