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If anyone looks at the OSU/ISU Film from last night...

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...our men's basketball team could be in for a long season, unless we become a three point shooting team. Quickly.

Idaho State employed a 2-3 zone for much of the first half last night, which gave Oregon State all kinds of trouble. The Beavers tried to move the ball quickly to catch the Bengal zone off balance, but it didn't work. The main reason it didn't work was the fact that OSU shot 0-13 on three pointers in the first half.

For those of you who aren't familiar with basketball principles such as zone defense, here's some background from Coach's

Zone defense is different from man-to-man defense in that, instead of guarding a particular player, each zone defender is responsible for guarding an area of the floor, or "zone", and any offensive player that comes into that area. Zone defenders move their position on the floor in relationship to where the ball moves.

Zone defense is often effective in stopping dribble penetration and one-on-one moves. On a personal note, I believe that all kids must develop their man-to-man defensive skills first. I believe youth basketball leagues should limit the use of zones to the older age groups. On the other hand, some high school and college coaches treat zone defense almost as if using it were blasphemous, or an admission of inferiority! At the upper levels, I believe you should assess your team's strengths and weaknesses as well as your opponent's, and the game situation, and use whatever tool you need to try to win.

Here is an explanation of the 2-3 zone defense (What Idaho State was running) from Coach's
The 2-3 zone defense has the advantage of protecting the inside, the "paint", and keeps your "bigs" inside. It's weakness is that it can be beaten by good outside shooting, with open areas on the wings, point and high post.

A basic 2-3 zone. Source.
An advantage of zone defense for an under-matched team is that it doesn't require you to match up man to man. Although the zone leaves perimeter shots open, its a good way for an lesser-talented team to have a chance against a more talented team. Because, like we saw last night, if the threes aren't falling, you're never going to see the end of the zone. The zone defense also helps teams slow the game down and control the tempo.

Everything that went right for the Bengals in the first half went wrong in the second, as the Beavers took the press out of the game. Oregon State controlled the tempo, forced turnovers, and created fast breaks. The rise in offense happened because of the aggression on defense. But, even though the defense improved, the shots started to fall, notably by true sophomore Seth Tarver. Another factor was that the Beavers dominated the Bengals on the glass all night long. The Beavers got 44 boards compared to Idaho State's 29, 12 of the Beaver boards coming from Roeland Schaftenaar.

Once the Beavers got control of the game and gained the lead, the Bengals could not afford to go zone any longer. They had no choice but to match-up man to man and put pressure on the ball, but they were to no avail.

But, because of the success Idaho State had in the first half with the 2-3 zone, look for many teams to apply the same scheme to the Beavers this season.