Inside Asheville's Game-Winning Play
This guest post is from The Mikan Drill, a blog devoted to screengrab breakdowns of college basketball plays and schemes. Mikan Drill's debut topic: How UNC-Asheville's off-ball movement led to the game-winning free throws against Arkansas Little-Rock in Tuesday's First Four.
UNC-Asheville did a great job of moving off of the ball to get open the entire game. This play illustrates that point, as J.P. Primm cuts behind the defense and draws the foul that leads to the game-winning points. But what happened that lead to Primm being fouled? Let's take a look:
Primm pulls down the rebound and drives to the foul line before getting cut off. UNC-Asheville shows some dribble-drive offense tendencies on this possession; they make two passes, and three different players try to penetrate the lane and find openings. Once Primm is cut off, he kicks the ball to Matt Dickey, who drives and draws the help defender (No. 20 in white, Matt Mouzy).
This is a major part of the dribble drive offense: draw the help defender to try to create openings. Dickey kicks the ball to Chris Stephenson, who looks to penetrate to the left side of the court (shown by the green arrow). Mouzy does a good job of recovering, though, and Stephenson is cut off as well. This is where the off-ball movement comes in, leading to a drawn foul. With Stephenson cut off by the help defender, he is about to pivot back to the lane to survey the opposite side of the court.
Look at Little Rock's Chuck Guy (inside the black box), who has completely lost sight of Primm. He has his back turned to his man, allowing Primm to cut behind him right to the basket. Guy has taken a few steps toward the top of the key, as he expects Primm to replace the driving Stephenson and be an outlet for a kick-out pass if Stephenson did not find an opening. Primm sees him cheating him up to the top of the key and uses this opportunity to cut behind him to the basket.
This isn't planned, but check out the awareness by John Williams, who sees the cutting Primm and turns to set a screen on Alex Garcia-Mendoza (No. 21 in white), which forces him to be a step late on the help and causes him to foul Primm. If Williams doesn't get in the way of Garcia-Mendoza, he might have been able to defend Primm without fouling. Instead, he's a half-second late and is forced to commit the foul, sending Primm to the line, where he knocks down the game-winning free throws.
Primm gets most of the credit for having the awareness to make a timely basket cut, and the rest goes to Stephenson, who pivots back to the center of the court after being stopped on the drive, finds Primm and hits him with a perfect pass in stride. The Mikan Drill can be found on Twitter @TheMikanDrill.