Rattlers start slow, finish strong in loss to Austin Anderson
The Trojans found their sweet spot.
In the opening half of San Marcos’ 71-52 home loss against Austin Anderson on Monday, Thomas Acker realized his team had a size disadvantage and had the Rattlers run a 3-2 zone. While the scheme worked well at keeping the Trojans out of the paint, it left open looks on the perimeter.
Anderson sank five 3-pointers in the first quarter, four of them coming from the right corner, and built at 21-12 lead. San Marcos cut the score to 28-21 at the 5:15 mark in the second quarter off a three by junior guard C.J. Valencia, but the Rattlers wouldn’t score for the rest of the half.
The visitors didn’t miss another shot, closing out on a 17-0 run with four triples, three coming from the right corner.
“We felt that with (Anderson’s) size, we needed to zone up a little bit,” Acker said. “We didn’t get our rotations right on several occasions and that corner three really hurt us. That was a big difference in the game when you look at the (10) threes they hit in the first half. That’s (30) points and we probably lost close to that.”
San Marcos made adjustments in the second half, though. The Rattlers switched out of their zone to a man-to-man defense and limited the Trojans’ outside looks. It worked. Anderson only made a single shot from deep in the third quarter.
On offense, the hosts started making shots and outscored Anderson in the third, 15-11.
“We tried to attack (Anderson’s) big man with perimeter-type action, trying to get him out and expose him into some ball screen actions,” Acker said. “They were running man, but they were switching everything and it was more like a zone. So, we kind of went to one of our zone actions and they didn’t do a good job of bumping their rotations. And we were finding gaps in it and then we were making shots behind that.”
The Trojans tightened up a bit on defense in the fourth quarter and held their 19-point lead through the end of the game, winning 71-52. Acker was pleased with the way his team fought back, but wants to see his players do it for a full four quarters.
“I thought our guys did a great job in the second half of coming out and fighting,” Acker said. “You know, they could have tucked their tail and didn’t. They’re not built that way. But I thought they did a really good job of coming out and staying together and fighting hard.”
The Rattlers won’t return to the hardwood until Nov. 27 when they face Akins on the road at 7 p.m. In the meantime, Acker said the team will continue honing its skills.
“We’ve got to shore up rebounding,” Acker said. “And then offensively, I still feel like we are still missing a couple things that can really help our kids against a team like (Anderson’s) with bigs. So, we’ll be working on both ends of the floor, working really hard to get better.”