Phillin' The Lane: Aussies take charge

Phillin' The Lane: Aussies take charge

Basketball Australia's US correspondent Phil Moskowitz wraps another week of Aussies in action in the United States.

During the course of a basketball game, there is always one player that takes over for his team; one player that propels his team to victory. This week the Aussies took control.

AJ Ogilvy and the Vanderbilt Commodores opened their conference schedule with a win against a very tough Florida Gators squad. The Gators, however, were no match for the big Aussie who put on a show for everyone watching.

Ogilvy registered 24 points on 7-for-13 shooting, grabbed eight boards, dished out two assists, blocked two shots, and stole one pass. It was a dominating performance.

Ogilvy’s quickness caught the Gators defenders completely off guard. Down 44-42 to open the second half, Ogilvy’s teammates dished it low to him early and with his quick, long first step he got by defenders with ease.

In the first 2 minutes and 30 seconds of the second half, he registered the Commodores’ first eight points and gave them their first lead of the half.

Since they couldn’t stop his drive, defenders resorted to fouling him and attempting to make AJ work for the points. Ogilvy though is one of the best free-throw shooting big men in the NCAA and converted 10-of-12 shots from the line. On the year he is shooting 77 per cent from the charity stripe, which is better then some of the league’s guards.

Also opening its conference schedule with a strong set of wins was the St. Mary’s College Gaels, with Matthew Dellavedova playing a big role.

Dellavedova had a season high nine assists against Santa Clara and helped his team register its fifth straight win, or thirteenth in its last 14 games.

The Gaels (15-2) have a very tough matchup this week when the fourteenth ranked Gonzaga Bulldogs (12-3) come to town. This will be the first real test of the season for St. Mary’s and we will get an idea whether the Gaels are playing pretender of contender for a trip to the NCAA playoffs. 

On the other hand, having somewhat of a disappointing week in NCAA action was Ater Majok.

After playing 14 minutes, scoring three points, grabbing two rebounds, and tying a season high three blocks in the Huskies win over the Seton Hall Pirates, he played only 8 minutes against UConn’s rival Georgetown.

Georgetown is a very physical team down low and for the first time this season, Majok was on the bench for the start of the second half.

The Huskies have a huge conference matchup this week against the Pittsburgh Panthers (3-0 in Big East), who are also a very physical team. If UConn wants to remain in the hunt for the Big East crown they have to win or they will see themselves slip to 2-3 in conference play -- and their young team may start to prematurely panic.

In NBA action, Andrew Bogut turned in two stellar performances.

Bogut’s week was highlighted by 27 points, 13 rebounds, 6 blocks, and 2 assists against the Chicago Bulls. The six blocks were a new career high for Bogues, whose previous was five, which he had registered a handful of times.

In the Bucks’ 2-and-1 performance this week, Bogut averaged 16 points and 9.7 rebounds. He would have had a higher points average except he registered only three points on 1-for-5 shooting in his 26 minutes in Milwaukee’s loss to the Los Angeles Lakers.

Bogut is an essential piece to the Bucks’ success this year. When he scores 17 points or more they are 11-1. And that consistency is what Bogut looks to improve upon in the new year.

“[I have to] just be more consistent. I think that something that I want to do in the new year is just not have those four point games. I’ve struggled a little with foul trouble this season, but just trying to be more consistent game in and game out,” Bogut told PTL after his win over New Jersey.

In the game against the Nets, Bogut was the game changer. After a very quiet first half where he played a mer eight minutes and registered four points and only a single rebound, he came out on a mission in second half.

In the third quarter, Bogues led all scorers with 12 points, sinking 6-of-7 shots; he was second in rebounds (4) behind his own teammate Luc Mbah a Moute (5).

“We made a concerted effort to go inside in the second half and it worked out for us,” added Bogut.

In other Boomer news from the NBA, Patty Mills stepped on the hardwood of the NBA for his first action of the season. He played five minutes in the Trail Blazers’ 105-95 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers.

During those five minutes Mills was 0-for-3 from the field but did record two assists. He hasn’t seen any court time since then.

David Andersen and Nathan Jawai both played sparingly off the benches for their teams with Andersen seeing a few more minutes than Big Nate.

Andersen averaged 5.6 points, 3.3 rebounds, and one assist during the week where the Rockets went 1-and-2. His standout game was in Houston’s lone win against the New York Knicks when he scored 10 points and grabbed four rebounds.

The performance that stood out for Jawai this week was Minnesota 110-96 loss to Chicago. Nate sunk 2-of-3 shots for four points and had two assists with one rebound in his week-high 10 minutes on court.

THE MOMENTS THAT MATTERED:

  • Portland vs LA Lakers, 10:22 remaining in 2nd Quarter - Mills steps on court for his first NBA action

  • Vanderbilt vs Florida, 17:33 remaining in 2nd Half - Ogilvy’s two free throws break a 48-48 tie and give Vandy its first lead of the half, 50-48.

  • UConn vs Georgetown, start of 2nd Half - For the first time in his NCAA career, Majok benched to open the half

WHAT TO LOOK FOR THIS WEEK:

  • Majok and the Huskies take on 3-0 conference foe Pitt (Thursday morning, 11am AEDT)

  • Dellavedova faces 14th ranked Gonzaga Bulldogs in WCC action (Friday afternoon, 3pm AEDT)

  • Can Ogilvy continue his SEC dominance at Alabama and South Carolina?

  • Bogut bouncing back strongly after a disappointing performance against the Lakers (When he has scored in single digits he has followed each game with a double digit performance, the last two being double-doubles.)