Following practice Monday night, we talked with Kent State assistant coach DeAndre Haynes about today's game against Princeton. Haynes was the designated scout for the game against the Tigers, who are known for running an offensive system different than every other teams int he country. While there are imitators, there is only one Princeton Offense....
Princeton runs an offense that you rarely see. And they have a really good team. We’re not used to playing teams that have guys 1-5 who can dribble the ball and shoot the ball. One of their strengths is shooting the ball. They’re probably one of the best 3-point shooting teams in the country. Our guys haven’t really played a team like this and tomorrow is going to be a challenge for us.
We didn’t prepare any differently for this game than others. Last game, we didn’t give enough effort on the defensive side. Going into this game our coaching staff has stressed to our guys that we have to play 40 minutes of defense and 40 minutes of great communication.
They’re patient and run their offense. We have to do a much better job of defending for 35 seconds at a time and then making sure we get the rebound when they miss. It can be deflated to defend well for that long and then allow them to get another chance at soring the ball. Princeton is a tough team to defend because of how skilled all of their players are. Their point guard will look to postup on the block and their bigs can shoot and pass. Our guys have to do a good job of pressuring the ball but not get beat off the dribble.
If you play off their guys, it allows them to make better reads in their offense and find a guy for a layup off a backcut. Not putting pressure on their post players when they catch the ball away from the basket is like allowing Peyton Manning to stand in the pocket and shred the defense down the field. If we come out and pressure them the way we’re supposed to, we will have a chance to win the game on the road. It would be a really big win for us since they haven’t lost at home. We’ve really stressed playing defense. One thing we can do is score the ball, but we have to get stops.
It’s good that were in the road against a top 100 RPI team to get us ready for MAC. Our first game is against Ohio University, which is a good team and a well-coached team as well. It’s going to be another big challenge for us so this game should give us confidence and motivation going into the league.