Friday, December 23rd, 2011
By Ryan Hines
Bulldogs beaten at home by Blue Jays
Halftime adjustments key St. John's comeback
CELINA - The Bulldogs' Matt Buschur terrorized the St. John's defense for 22 points in the first 18:23 of Thursday's game at the Fieldhouse to give Celina a six-point lead early in the second half.
St. John's head coach Aaron Elwer had seen enough.
Halftime adjustments on the defensive side of the floor keyed a St. John's comeback as the Blue Jays rallied for a 61-52 victory over Celina.
St. John's (2-1) began to send two, and sometimes even three defenders at Buschur in the post every time he touched the ball during the second half. The strategy worked as the Blue Jays held the Bulldogs' big man scoreless for the final 13:37 of the game.
"We made an adjustment on defending Buschur in the post. We started three-quarter denial on the high side and then went to a three-quarter denial on the low side and neither of those worked. We went to a dead front to try and limit his touches and when he did get it, we sent some perimeter defenders at him and tried to make it as difficult as we could on him," said Elwer. "He really hurt us in the first half (16 points) and we did a good job of making the proper adjustments."
The Blue Jays' focus on Buschur in the post opened up the perimeter for the Bulldogs, but the home team never found their shooting touch. Outside of Buschur's 7-of-11 night from the field, the rest of the Bulldogs shot 11-of-34 (32 percent), including just 4-of-16 from three-point range.
"They started to double and triple on our post players. They were trying to make us beat them from the outside and we just had an off night shooting the ball tonight," said Celina's head coach Chris Bihn. "I think that we were getting some good looks. We just weren't knocking them down."
Buschur's last field goal gave Celina its biggest lead of the game at 36-30 with 5:37 to play in the third quarter. St. John's responded with a 10-2 run that put the Blue Jays on top 40-38. The Blue Jays' Ryan Buescher led the comeback as he scored 12 points in the third quarter to vault St. John's to a 49-44 lead with eight minutes left to play.
"We have kind of been waiting for it and Ryan kind of had a coming out party for us tonight, especially in the third quarter," said Elwer. "He worked so hard in the offseason and it feels good to see him rewarded for all that hard work he has put into improving."
The Blue Jays opened the fourth quarter with six straight points to push their lead to 55-44 and it looked as if the Bulldogs were on the verge of being blown out on their home floor. Celina managed to pull within five points with 1:39 left to play in the game but the Bulldogs missed three shots and committed two turnovers in their final five possessions.
Buescher's 18 points led St. John's while Curtis Geise added 14 points and Seth Bockey contributed 10 points.
The Bulldogs open the Asset Allocation Associates Holiday Shootout Tournament at the Fieldhouse next Thursday night at 7:30 p.m. against Greenville.
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Partly cloudy, breezy