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College Basketball Gamer

Discussion in 'Writers' Workshop' started by djsquid06, Apr 13, 2009.

  1. djsquid06

    djsquid06 New Member

    Hoping you guys could critique a gamer I wrote a month back. I'm trying to enhance my writing style as I prepare to receive my Bachelor's in a year.

    The dejection and disappointment on the faces of the members of the men's basketball team Saturday night said it all. Some were in tears while others were just trying to comprehend what went wrong.

    But the Mid-American Conference Championship was dictated by what went right for the Akron Zips.

    Frustrating defense and lights-out shooting suffocated the Bulls (22-11, 11-5 MAC) all night long and pushed Akron (23-12, 10-6 MAC) to a 65-53 win at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland Saturday night. With the victory, Akron earned an automatic bid into the NCAA tournament.

    "They got hot, they made some tough shots," said Bulls head coach Reggie Witherspoon. "When they got hot we seemed to want to come right back and take the first shot that was available, and it broke our concentration a little."

    The Bulls were able to score the first basket of the game and build up a 5-3 lead, but the temporary advantage proved to be the only time Buffalo would be ahead in the game.

    Akron's hot shooting then started to take effect. Sparked by the return of point guard Anthony "Humpty" Hitchens from injury, Akron was able to find holes in the Buffalo defense and consistently converted on open shots. The Zips shot 55 percent from the floor and never slowed down after scoring at will early in the first half. This strong start helped to put the Zips up by eight points at half.

    "We were down eight at halftime and they're shooting lights out, and you say they can't continue to shoot like this," Witherspoon said. "Then there's 10 minutes to go in the game and they're still shooting like that."

    Buffalo's defense tried to force the Zips into stops, subbing in quicker players to liven the pace, but Akron already had an established rhythm they couldn't be knocked out of.

    The Bulls offense was inept and failed to threaten Akron's large lead. Despite the early advantage, Buffalo started slow and was unable to get on track. They shot just 36.7 percent from the field and only made three of their 16 attempts from 3-point range.

    "In games you're going to go into slumps where you can't hit shots, but you just have to find your rhythm," said junior forward Calvin Betts. "I thought Akron had a good rhythm with their offense and we rushed a lot of stuff."

    For a team that prides itself on defense and rebounding, the lack of a leader on offense cost the Bulls dearly against the Zips. Junior guard Rodney Pierce, Buffalo's leading scorer during the season, continued his MAC Tournament struggles. The First Team All-MAC selection shot 1-for-9 and scored four points.

    "It affected us that we didn't have a guy that could come out and score a whole lot of points," Witherspoon said. "What got us here was defense and rebounding and we rebounded the ball today, but they made shots."

    The Zips were able to ease the pain felt during the two previous MAC Championships. They dropped a heartbreaker to Miami (OH) in 2007 and fell to Kent State in last year.

    But their third try proved to be a charm, as the Zips are now going dancing for the first time since 1986. Akron was named the No. 13 seed in the South Regional and will take on Gonzaga, the No. 4 seed, on Thursday.

    A celebratory Keith Dambrot, head coach of the Zips, praised the efforts the Bulls put forth against his team.

    "I think [the Bulls] have high character guys. They played really hard," Dambrot said. "I think Reggie is an unbelievable coach. I'm happy they got it turned around this year."

    Despite the loss, Buffalo did earn a berth to a postseason tournament. The Bulls were invited to take part in the College Basketball Invitational Tournament.

    They will travel to Wichita, Kan. to take on the Wichita State Shockers (16-16) in the tournament's opening round Wednesday night. The Shockers finished sixth in the Missouri Valley Conference with wins over NCAA tournament-bound teams Siena and Cleveland State. Tip off is at 8 p.m.
  2. jps

    jps Active Member

    >>> First, some long sentences. Maybe think shorter. And while I expect your audience knows what team you are talking about, you still need to get it in there. And the second graf just didn't flow for me, so switched it up a bit. <<<

    >>> Little things. Personal thing, but 'victory' often just doesn't roll right, so 'win' fit better. And if we work Saturday higher up, no need to repeat. <<<

    >>> 'Said' goes after the name, unless it's a huge title or something. And no need to say he's the head coach, unless that's you paper's style. For me, I tell my writers that if it says 'coach,' I'll assume, as an editor and a reader, he's the head coach. If he isn't, then throw in 'assistant' or whatever his title is. <<<

    >>> I threw in 'largely,' just because it it was really inept all night, it just wouldn't have scored. Plus, it just comes off really harsh when the team did only lose by 12. There are many, many worse margins out there every night. Also provided context for 3-point shooting. People see that it's a small number made, but it's vague - throw in a percentage of shots made, and every reader gets just how small/large that number really is. <<<

    >>> I would have liked a quote there at the end from a player or coach ... what does it mean that they are still playing in the postseason? They happy? They taking it, but not really excited about it? Some sort of reaction to being invited to the CBI would provide something, I think. Also, a little graf of history would be nice at the end -- what is the team's postseason history? Put that before the CBI quote, maybe. <<<

    Overall, I thought, good gamer. Little things scattered here and there, but nothing inherently wrong with it. Good use of quotes. You put them in the right places and didn't use too many of them -- many young writers use quotes as a crutch and it goes graf, quote, graf, quote, graf, graph, quote, etc.

    I liked getting the voice from the other team and a player, which is something lots of folks tend not to do, also.

    Others here are far more experienced, and this was a quick scan, but maybe it'll help.
  3. jlee

    jlee Well-Known Member

    Why use this:

    "The dejection and disappointment on the faces of the members of the men's basketball team Saturday night said it all."

    When you have this much better lede following it?

    "Some were in tears while others were just trying to comprehend what went wrong."

    I think jps hit a lot of the tightening it needs. Thanks for posting it.
  4. jps

    jps Active Member

    jl - agreed. I do like the idea, but I like my idea of trimming that first sentence, too. short, quick sentences can help a lot in setting moods, and often, I think, can have a nice impact.
  5. highlander

    highlander Member

    My first thought was can't you put the records somewhere lower? Instead of in the sentence that tells the outcome of the game? Or is that just something this company does?

    Also do you really need conference records in a story about the conference championship game? They have no bearing in the story.
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