A Tale of Two Halves- All Men Up
The Zags found themselves in a hole down by 13 early in the second half. They took a punch in the mouth and responded. Their offense erupted for 54 second-half points and it wasn’t just one player that made the difference.
First man up
Hachimura ended the Zags ridiculous comeback with 24 points. 15 of those points came in the second half. He was able to use his patience to get the Zags into the game. He used his length to open up space against any defender the Wildcats threw at him. The 6’8″ forward’s game is already translating into what NBA teams are looking for.
His development is unreal, especially when you remember that he’s only been playing basketball since the age of twelve, with no AAU experience. As if watching The Matrix, Hachimura has a gift that allows the game to slow around him. Usually, players need a screen from their teammate to get the space for a shot, but not Hachimura. He makes his own space and knocks down jumpers. With a 19-3 run lead by Hachimura in the second half, the Zags took the lead by three and never looked back.
Second Man Up
Mr. Bigshot himself, Zach Norvell Jr., was terrible to start the game. He went 0-5 from the three-point line in the first half and 0-9 to start the game; but like most great shooters, they don’t stop shooting. With the steal followed by the dunk, Norvell Jr. got the Zags faithful at the Lahaina Civic Center up on their feet to bring the Zags within nine.
You could feel the momentum change, making this the turning point of the game. The Wildcats tried to stay close but Norvell Jr. stuck a dagger in their heart, hitting a big three with 3:51 left in the game. He finished with 20 points and was 6 of 18 from the field. With ice in his veins, Norvell Jr. will need more of that confidence for the Zags to cool off the number one team in the land, the Duke Blue Devils.
Third Man Up
Perkins struggled with foul trouble early but ended the game scoring double figures. His senior leadership and experience with big games on an even bigger stage will help the Zags get through rough stretches. He had 18 points, was seven of eleven from the field, and was feeling the three. HIs four three-pointers came when the Zags needed them most.