|Block party: Garrett's 14 establish him as force|
|Written by Admin|
|Friday, 15 January 2010 13:19|
Garrett seemingly came from nowhere and blocked 14 shots Wednesday night in the Spiders' overtime victory against Massachusetts, tying for the second-most in NCAA history. In Richmond's first 17 games, the 6-foot-9 forward had accounted for just 25 rejections.
Now, teams such as La Salle on Saturday will expect him to be lurking near the basket in the Spiders' matchup zone defense, prowling and protecting the rim with his long arms.
``All of a sudden you put him in there, and then it's like that much more difficult to prepare for,'' Spiders coach Chris Mooney said of the defense that other teams tend to think is complicated. ``I think it's going to change the way that teams prepare for us.''
So does Garrett, who welcomes the challenge of facing expectations.
e,'' Garrett said. ``I think it's going to throw off some scouting reports on some teams. They're going to be aware of me down there now so they're going to try to draw fouls against me, so I'm going to have to be aware of that.''
M's Mickell Gladness against Texas Southern in 2007.
He also grabbed 13 rebounds and scored eight points, just missing a triple double.
Minutemen coach Deke Kellogg, who played for UMass with Marcus Camby, a great shot blocker, said he told his players to keep attacking and try to go into Garrett's body, but it didn't work. He called the performance one of the most dominating he's ever seen.
``That was a familiar look when you can get beat off the dribble ... and you have somebody back there that can really change the complexion of the game,'' he said. ``... There were three or four times where I thought we had easy layups and he came up with a block.''
Garrett was surprised the Minutemen just kept driving into his reach.
``But they kept taking layups and I kept taking the blocks,'' he said.
The Spiders plan to take more advantage of Garrett's abilities going forward.
know he's back there protecting the rim,'' Mooney said. ``I think the more and more we play with Darrius in there, the more we'll get used to that even more.''
Garrett arrived from Raleigh, N.C., last year with more complete skills on defense than offense, Mooney said, and seeing him break out in an important league game was promising.
``To have such an incredible game like that as a sophomore, historic in the A-10, it's just amazing,'' Mooney said before practice Friday. ``You hope it not only helped us win that game but, going forward, that it just does incredible things for his confidence.''
He added that Garrett seems smart about not getting suckered into bad fouls.
``He has a very good defensive instinct, beyond blocking shots,'' he said, as well as a good sense of his need to bring energy to the team at the defensive end when he checks in.
Last year against St. John's, Mooney said, Garrett came in the game and quickly blocked two shots on one possession, then made a diving save of a ball headed out of bounds. The Spiders, who were getting hammered early, rode that energy and came back to win, 75-69.
Efforts plays, however, aren't as energizing as blocks, teammate Justin Harper said.
``It's such an uplifting thing if you're in a slump or see someone with a wide-open lane to the basket and he comes from the weak side and throws it into the third row,'' he said.