Sunday, January 02, 2005

Great Day At Anderson Arena

It was a great day to be at Anderson Arena. I keep hearing it was hot, but I wasn't hot. It felt good. The crowd was small, but the place was rocking, and we beat the team picked to win the East in a very entertaining, fast-paced and fun game to watch.

It was a real battle. Buffalo is fast, and they run constantly. MAC basketball has changed so much in the past few years. This team is playing ball we never would have imagined in our league a few years ago.

Buffalo jumped out to a 6-0 lead, but BG had it tied at 8 and 11. After that, the game was tied seven more times by halftime (9 total.). Buffalo stretched it to 7 at 31-24, and led by six with 5:45 left, but we closed on a 16-9 run to take the lead into the locker room. It would have been more, but Jason Bird nailed a 3 under pressure with 1 tick left.

In the second half, we led for a while (as much as 6), and they led for awhile (as much as 5). Very close, nip and tuck game. We took the lead for good with 5:42 on an Almanson layup, and then Cory buried a key three to give us a 4 point, two possession lead. We were clutch with free throws down the stretch, and won the game 95-88.

Some key points:

John Floyd is the key to the team. He runs the offense very effectively, hustles and works hard, and nails some clutch shots. He gives us another scoring threat on the floor. He had a career high 19, along with 6 assists.

Josh had another very nice game, with 26 points.

Reimold added 15 (including 3-5 from treyland), and Wright a career high 20 (6 of 9 on FG's, and some when we had to have a bucket).

Great minutes off the bench from Eyink, Fitch (technically a starter), and Soler.

We are capable of lighting up the place with our shooting. We shot 69% from the field in the first half, 61% in the second half, and 65.4% for the game, plus 45% from 3-land, which is better than many teams do for their entire shooting effort. With that kind of shooting, we're going to be tough to beat. You worry if that's sustainable, but we do tend to get good looks, and we are moving the ball around like crazy.

Buffalo had two big guys (6'10), one from Morocco. Surprisingly, we didnt' play Vandermeer and Lefeld against them, preferring to guard them with out smaller but quicker players. This result in us getting killed on the board (37-24).

Buffalo made 20 turnovers, which I guess isn't too surprising, based on how they race up the court. They have some very good players. I liked Battle, and Cage and Middleton a great deal. They got 52% for the game (normally pretty good), but we held then to 45.7% in the second half, and that was probably the difference.

Coach was really happy on the post-game interview. Its a big conference win, coming off the debacle in Oakland. Now, we need to go to Marshall (who lost at home to Central today) and get a road win.

MAC basketball is great. So competitive, and winner take all, and today was a great college basketball game.

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