By Ryan Libby |Staff Writer|
The Coyotes were able to earn a 97–53 victory in their only exhibition game of the year against Cal Tech.
The game was an opportunity for head coach Jeff Oliver to see what more needs to be improved despite a 44 point win.
“We were awful in every aspect of the game,” he said. “We didn’t stick to our defensive principals, our transition defense was atrocious and offensively [we] didn’t execute one iota.”
There were a few moments in which Cal Tech was able to find an open player off of a screen for a three point shot. This play ran three consecutive times at one point in the game, and while they wound up as empty possessions for Cal Tech, the looks they were able to get at the basket were too good for comfort.
Cal Tech would finish the night 8 of 24 from the three point arc, but most of that was due to poor shooting, not strong defense, specifically failure to pick up the open shooter.
One thing that was noticeable was the strong pressure the Coyotes put on the Cal Tech ball handler, finishing the night with 15 steals.
“Our principals are ball pressure, help side,” said Oliver. “We had ball pressure at times, but our help side was bad.”
In man-to-man defense it is important that somebody is there to help out in case the main defender gets separated from the ball handler.
By the end of the game Cal Tech was probably tired of seeing a CSUSB defender right in their face, but if they were able to set a screen for an open shot, it was difficult for the Coyotes to stop them.
With such a decisive victory there had to be something that Oliver saw as a positive. After a quick answer of “nothing,” Oliver took a moment and mentioned something that was missing last year.
“We shared the ball,” said Oliver. “We looked for each other. We made the extra pass. [We] didn’t necessarily make the shot afterwards, but we played unselfish.”
Oliver wants to see more passing in the future, a stronger team chemistry which he said, that the Coyotes are developing.
From the opening tip-off CSUSB went on a tear scoring the game’s first nine points.
Center Pablo Genevo would finish with 14 points and 10 rebounds. Most of his performance came in the second half as he found himself spending most of the first half on the sidelines due to early foul trouble.
“[Genevo] got two fouls and that’s one thing we’re working on. He can’t get in foul trouble along with our other two posts until we get deeper and healthier,” he said.
It is important that Genevo stays on the court as the team is relying on him to be a factor while first team All-CCAA forward Kwame Alexander waits to become eligible.
Genevo showed some leadership capabilities as he was talking to his teammates, letting them know where to go on a particular play as well as encouraging them to keep up the offensive tempo.
“Well just the first thing, as coach says, we need to talk to each other,” Genevo said. “On defense [and] the offensive end it’s important to talk and let them know, your teammates, that you’re there. That’s the first reason for talking.”
Coyotes guard Lacy Haddock also would finish with a team high 21 points and was 8 of 8 at the free-throw line.
In future games, the Coyotes look to keep up the outside shooting. Even though the team finished 9 of 24 from three, Oliver wants to see possibly a bigger number in that category.
“There will probably be more games where we actually have to take more [threes],” laughed Oliver.
Regular season play begins Nov. 13 as the Coyotes travel to Santa Barbara to face Westmont. Game time is 7 p.m.