King’s Court: Looking Ahead
By Alex King
Webster University’s men’s basketball team has been very successful up to this point in the season. Webster is currently fighting Westminster College for first place in the St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference. Looking ahead, the Gorloks have a few key things they need to continue doing to keep winning.
In the locker room, the men have a goal sheet for each game. One of their goals is to allow the opponent to score less than 70 points. The Gorloks gave up more than 70 in each of their four losses and gave up more than 80 points in three losses. In wins, Webster only allowed the opponent to score more than 60 points twice.
The key for the defense is rebounding. The Gorloks consistently outrebound their opponents, only failing to do so in two games this season. To successfully play strong defense, the men need to continue rebounding the ball.
Another pivotal stat for Webster is shooting accuracy. The men have made 46 percent of their shots. Which is more than six percent better than their opponents.
Shots taken, play a larger role in Webster’s success than shooting percentage. The more shots the Gorloks have taken, the worse they have done. The four games that Webster shot the ball the most were all losses. Each game, the men shot the ball at least 61 times. Three of these games had 65 or more shots taken by Webster. In their victories, the Gorloks have never shot more than 61 times.
The men have an offense built around motion and ball movement. The offense is most successful when the Gorloks do a lot of passing and cutting to get open. When they get into a shootout and start trying to run down the court and score quickly, the team struggles. This team is better off when it slows down and waits for an open shot; its not built to be a run-and-gun offense.
However, what happens at the free throw line may be the most important key to Webster’s success. The Gorloks shoot very differently in losses compared to wins.. When the Gorloks win, they shoot 69 percent from the free throw line.
When they lose, the men shoot 59 percent from the charity stripe. In each loss, Webster’s opponent has attempted more than 20 free throws. Their opponents’ average 68 percent from the free throw line, regardless of the outcome.
Three of Webster’s losses are by single digits. Looking at stats from wins and losses, the difference can often be pinpointed to what happened at the free throw line for most teams. This holds true for the Gorloks.
That being said, Webster has done a great job of turning things around after starting the season 3-4. They are in the hunt for the chance to host the SLIAC tournament. To be successful they have to play their game the way they have been built to do so.
On defense, the Gorloks must continue to rebound strong and hold the opposition to under 70 points. They also need to be smart and not allow teams to get to the free throw line too much.
Offensively, Webster needs to play their game and not the other team’s game. The men are at their best when they slow down and wait for the open man. At the free throw line, the Gorloks have to make the most of their opportunity. If the men can continue doing these things, they will be primed for a strong finish to the season.