Rainmen Lose to Vermont, 100-98

It was a tough loss for the Rainmen.  They started slow but managed to fight back in the third and fourth quarters.  The big difference on the night was free throw shooting – Halifax shot just 51% from the line and lost by two points, which hurt particularly bad because they got to the line a lot by virtue of refusing to settle for jump shots.

Vermont hit a lot of big shots and Thomas Sanders played absolutely out of his mind on defense.  I think he’s probably the most underrated player in the PBL right now.  Callier also played well on the offensive end and Greg Plumber managed a hot streak in the third that kept Halifax from getting some momentum to pull ahead.

Despite some poor play Halifax kept it close enough to be in the game on the final shot, and that’s all you can ask for when playing poorly.  Unfortunately Twyman (who failed to score all game) ended up with the ball and took a fadeaway three from the corner that careened out of bounds.  I can only assume that it was a broken play.

Two other thoughts:

– Halifax failed to get stops when they needed them.  Silverhorn and Eric in particular need to step up their defensive games.

– There is a reason why Vermont lead the league in fouls.  I sometimes wonder if they’re dirtier than Manchester and Callier almost started a brawl tonight.

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26 thoughts on “Rainmen Lose to Vermont, 100-98

  1. Yeah I was there. Have to give credit to Vermont. They played hard and wanted that win bad. Their whole bench was going crazy all game.

    It was a tough loss.

    I think number 20 on Vermont was the player of the game. That guy is so clutch.

    It’s a shame that Crook and Strick were so cold on the foul line.

    and that turnover with three seconds left was a heart breaker.

    I was on the edge of my seat though. Got my money’s worth and then some. Just we came out on the losing end.

  2. PS: Correction: It wasn’t a turnover with 3 seconds left. Just the momentum towards a tying basket was lost with the “out of bounds.”

  3. Ouch. That was hard to watch. It was nice to see the crowd all riled up, but the Rainmen just didn’t WANT this game, and just didn’t deserve to win it. Vermont didn’t play particularly well, we just played worse. Halifax was SO much better against them back on the 8th, both in terms of statistics and overall effort.

    Why the heck did Strickland log 28 minutes tonight? I know that Vermont has some big players and he’s the closest that we have to a real centre (save for Tyrone McNeal, who seldom plays), and he’s entertaining to watch, but he doesn’t hustle, virtually useless on the boards, and don’t even get me started on free throws (25% tonight).

    And why did AJ Millien only play 14 minutes? He was riding the pine for the last 14ish minutes of the game, when we needed to score the most.

    Another question: Why did Silverhorn inbound the ball with three seconds left? He’s one of the best shooters on the team – they should have given him the ball, not Twyman.

    One bright spot was Jeanty, who nabbed a double double in 30 minutes (11/11) and made some good plays. Silverhorn and Crookshank were okay, too, but not particularly electric. I like Bennett a lot, but he goes for way too many long threes, and misses most of them. Twyman was particularly ineffective tonight, Bailey and Ramey weren’t particularly useful and, thankfully, Dandridge only played four minutes.

    One last thing – can anyone explain the 6th foul rule?

  4. Free throw shooting was awful (I’ve seen high school teams do a better job from the stripe) but what disappointed me was the lack of control of the defensive glass. I understand VT is a bigger team inside but 80% of rebounding is positioning and boxing-out. VT got too many second chances. There was a possession with about two minutes left that Halifax finally got a stop on but VT got to reset the offence three times off missed shots. It took up about a minute of clock but felt we were shorthanded for a five-minute check from behind. Strickland was totally gassed and could barely move.

    Rules question: can you foul out of PBL or is it like ABA? I thought #28 and #44 on VT each picked up six fouls, but they kept playing…

  5. After a player’s 6th foul his coach can elect to have him stay in the game. If he stays, each foul he commits after that is 1 (extra) free throw plus possession for the opposing team.

  6. I wont comment on the FS shooting, as it is obvious that was the main difference in teh game. Well, 1 thought: ITS A FREE THROW!!!!! IT ISNT THAT DIFFICULT TO MAKE, ESPECIALLY IF YOU ARE A PAID PRO!!!! AT LEAST HIT 60%!!!

    Anyway, 1 thing I noticed was that although the R-men were being aggresive and not alwasy settling for outside jumpers, when they went to the basket they went up rather weak – so many blocked shots for VT. Plenty of opportunities to go strong and dunk, or use the body, but alas, they did not….

  7. An exciting game to watch, but the free throw shooting by the Rainmen was truly painful. I also got a bit tired of Vermont hammering fouls on every drive to the hoop – but I guess it works when the other team can’t make free throws.

    Can’t take anything away from Vermont on this one – they earned that win, but I wish it had gone the other way. Would have been nice to have those three goal-tending hoops back though.

    Not sure what has to happen to get AJ Millien clicking… he seems really out of step.

  8. That last play, I’m fairly sure they had a set to get Silverhorn the ball. Those situations, the inbounder can be the most dangerous player since the person guarding them can get suckered in to helping. Vermont knew what was up and did a great job crowding Silverhorn. The mistake was inbounding the ball at all instead of calling a timeout. That or Jimmy jacking the three so early. not that he had a lot of time or space, but he might have had a pass or an extra dribble to get shot instead of flailing wildly.

    Three seconds left, down by two, I would have liked to have seen Silverhorn inbound to Ramey or Twyman at the top of the three. That gives the pg the option to shoot, pass to Silverhorn to shoot, or alley-oop to Crooks down low. But eh, Vermont did such a good job denying, we had no hope for any of it. Good finish.

  9. Do you think A.J. Millien came to Halifax expecting to play 14 minutes in a game?

    14 minutes playing time? This guys led the league in scoring with over 30 points a game and over 14 rebounds a game.

    At this point in the season you have to go out ALL guns blazing.

    Not sit the LEAGUES BEST scoring machine on the bench.

    This is like benching Jordan or Kobe. There is no excuse. Don’t say well he’s new and needs “time” to be eased into the mix. There is no time. Instead the Rainmen wasted a huge asset. It was all or nothing and the Rainmen sat him. I’m shocked.

  10. Good game…tough loss, but good game. I was on the edge of my seat!!!Free throw shooting definitely hurt us, BUT it was still a good effort overall. Jeanty had a solid game!

  11. Can still make playoffs… all winnable games left…

    but very little margin for error (if any) because the Sea Dawgs are taking care of their own business.

  12. I agree that A.J. Millien could be a key part of the puzzle, but I can understand why he spent time on the bench last night – he did not produce on the floor, and seems to be out of flow with the rest of the team right now. I think the Rainmen need to look at his game when he was getting those big numbers, and see if there is a way to work that into the mix.

  13. Oldschool, I think the AJ Millien story is the same as the Mario Kinsey, Texas Tycoon story. He put up big numbers on a mediocre team. He was a big fish in a small pond, a college player on a high school team, etc, etc, etc.

    Mario Kinsey was a big man in Texas and then came to the NorthEast and then was released by VT, Manchester and now he is supposedly on Montreal and as Will Voigt said “He is not as good as I thought he was!”

    AJ may be same story, different day.

    Just an observation.

  14. Strick was doing a passable impression of Rob Sanders, getting under the net and drawing fouls. Unfortunately, he was only 25% from the line.

    Crook and Jeanty both had double-doubles, but Eric did not have a good night for free throws.

    That is the story of the game: decent performances but not enough, especially from the line. Since Vermont was giving us lots of chances for charity points, maybe we should have sent AJ, Tony and Brian (who shot 14-18, including AJ’s 5-5 from the line vs. Strick and Crook who were 3-18) to the hoop more to draw fouls. Just an amateur’s opinion.

    I am not sure why AJ only got 14 minutes, other than we are full of 4’s and kinda 5’s, so coach has to make a decision about who gets the minutes. Certainly, AJ was the best player on the Groove (which goes back to my thoughts about the best player on a poor team), but he should have a place here in Halifax. AJ was scoring 31 points a game while playing and average 37 minutes in Augusta, 10 more points average than Randy Gill, with the same playing time. AJ has talent, we need to fit him into the system.

    Hammack must feel like the third person on a date, since Jimmy, Tony and Zach have been filling up the backcourt since Coach Berry’s arrival. Once again, lots of talent at the 1 and 2, too many guys to fill the spots.

    I wish our team was more balanced (so much for Lewis as a GM). I think the old way of recruiting for the Rainmen was, “He’s good, let’s sign him,” with not a lot of thought about the existing make-up of the team. Look at the official website (which needs updating BTW. No mention of Berry and Sanders is still on the team): We are stacked with power forwards and what we really need are a centre who will mix it up and push his way around and a second shooter behind Silverhorn.

    Either we need to work with the guys who are already on the roster at those positions (Tyronne and Glen) or we need to get replacements. At this point in the season, it is probably too late, but we need to address team balance next season.

  15. I think that Millien isn’t going to be able to ‘prove himself’ on our court for two reasons – there’s only a few games left and the fact there’s so many players fighting for those minutes. Above all, I think Hammack’s getting the shaft on the floor, which sucks because he is a decent player and seems to be an all round nice guy from the autograph sessions and everything.

    I think rebounding hurt us too in that game – it seemed like Vermont was catching every shot that didn’t make it.

    Really not impressed with Strick – I don’t care if he draws fouls, he’s got to be able to shoot the shots to make it work. There were a few times when it seemed he was laughing at himself on the line which was just plain stupid. At this level, shooting foul shots should be a no brainer and there should be more hits than misses. That goes for anyone on the team.

    I think that the game attendance is a sign that the ticket price is too high – when you’re drawing an extra 1000$ because it’s cheaper you’ve got to take note. Hopefully they’ll realize that for next season.

    That anthem singer was definitely something fantastic – too bad they don’t make the attempt at getting singers like that for each game. Instead of just throwing one of the game staffers on the floor to sing. It was also a nice tribute to African Heritage Month.

    I think that we still have a chance at the wild card slot in the playoffs, but I think that they need to do some major team building because it just seems like things aren’t clicking with some guys. It will be interesting to see how they come out of next weekend’s games on the road.

  16. I thought Strick played great. He was playing hard and Vermont couldn’t handle him. He is just a terrible free throw shooter, which sucks.

  17. Strickland is good for about four minutes a quarter then the tank is on empty. Like the guy sitting beside me Friday said: “He’s not in shape, and he’s not going to be in shape.”

    Wilmington won Saturday night to go to 8-4. Game of the day on Sunday has the Sea Dawgs hosting Battle Creek. I guess we’ll know if that 12-0 is for real tonight. For the sake of the wildcard, we’d better hope iot is.Elsewhere, Chicago travel to Augusta and one would have to think that whoever loses that game is effectively eliminated.

  18. Dear Mr. Strickland,

    There are so many good “How to Improve your Shooting” video, books, clinics out there.

    Any basketball player who is considered a professional should not have a free throw percentage below 80 percent. Period.

    When you watch Strickland making his foul shots his follow throw is awful. You don’t have to be a shooting expert to see that. The ball comes out of his hands in such a terrible arc. (Using the word arc very generously here) It’s such a flat shot it’s unbelievable.

    I can’t believe the coaches never went up to him and gave him some shooting pointers. Is Strick unapproachable? Could he handle the criticism or advice?

    Strick: Take some advice. You are 38. Trust me, I’m around your age. You ain’t too old to learn how to shoot.

  19. It is going to be a hard road forward from here. Playing with a starting lineup including Millien, we started slow. The ball movement has been much better of late but it seems like there are some basic things still missing from Rainmen play.
    1) Crashing the boards. The team still looks surprised at some of the shot selection and is not crashing bodies in there. Sanders is missed. Also, we seem to lose our fair share of tipped balls on rebounds that the other team wants more than we do. As a fan, that is so frustrating. Guys have already started running up the floor instead of staying to ensure possession. Silverhorn looked extremely guilty of that. Crook and Millien and Bailey worked hard in there, but couldn’t turn what they did get into boards.
    2) Why do we continue to leave the PG alone to inbounds and it seems a surprise when people have to rush back to get the ball and get it up the floor? That blows my mind. I figure the 1,2,3 are first on the list to bring up the ball.
    3) Foulshooting except to millien, everyone missed key shots that should have won the game. Nuff said on this blog about that.
    4) Dandridge doesn’t even look interested. He gave away two key passes on fast breaks and passed up his usual threes. Do him a favour and cut him now.
    5) What has Hammack done? Pasted to the bench, no minutes. I understand we want more time for the other players, but Hammack creates off the dribble and doesn’t take bad shots.
    6) Players overplaying on defense. Ramey got burned three or four times playing right up on their point guard leading to points inside. Crook does the same thing inside.
    7) Jimmy shooting the last three with 3 secs left. We could have gone inside to Millien, Silverhorn on the cut or even bennett in the lane. I was surprised by that.
    8) The Voice heaving up some shots.. yikes..

    Positives: Workrate is much better with this team, unfortunately we are still making mental mistakes.
    FS can only get better.. lol
    Millien has looked good.
    Ball movement has been better and some good interior passing leading to higher percentage shots. We just need to focus on hitting the layup/ dunk when we are inside.
    I like our four big set with ramey on ball, Crook, Millien, Bailey, Strick. We seemed to get some good movement inside and lots of fouls shots obviously. That leads me to think the game planning was very good, but the execution poor.

    It’s going to be very tough to make playoffs with this little run as we need to win out and have a little help from everyone else to knock Vermont and Wilmington down. We have a couple tough games coming up as well with Kebs.

    Notes; CP was on the IR so we tried to carry the heckling load. That was tough
    Collier was on fire as was Sanders. He is only like 21 by the way.
    My boy, Bryant, missed a massive dunk, but so did we.
    Saw the lads at Boston Pizza after the game. vermont guys we decent fellas as we partied with the Super Fans Dick and Linda. Bryant and Sanders had a bad case of flu, they were hurting units so Sanders game was even more impressive.
    Good luck on the road Rainmen, it seems like it is coming together but maybe too late.

  20. Thanks TR Waters for the posting. Tough, good game but,the BETTER TEAM won tonight. We should have won the first time(only loss to them by one point second game of the season ) Come on Rainmen,lets get it together.By the way we are not looking for the wildcard spot, we are looking to win our division over the Razorsharks.

  21. Hi Sea Dawg# 34.

    Trying to fly under the radar are you? Sorry, K.D it can’t be done.

    It’s no surprise to me that you still follow, cheer for, and wish the very best for your old team. It’s just the kind of player you are, actually the kind of player we needed all year wearing a Rainmen uniform.

    Anyways, glad to hear your team is moving on up, as we seem to be moving on down. See you in Montreal.

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