With 3:44 left in the game today, Akron nailed a hoop and took a one point lead, their first since there had been 1:30 left in the first half. Akron had begun to lock down their defense, and an undermanned Falcon team appeared to be getting tired. On the JAR floor, you just had to fear that it was going to slip away.
Yeah....Akron didn't score again. And BG picked up the win.
The teams traded stops, and then traded turnovers, and BG called timeout with 2:01 left. BG tried to run an offensive set, and couldn't get organized at all, and ended up calling a mid-possession time out. Then, we couldn't get the ball in (a long time Falcon weakness) and had to use our last time out.
Now, facing 2 minutes left, and no more timeouts, the Falcons had to get the ball in, which we did. But, the possession was still struggling, and it was starting to look like Akron would get the bal back with the lead. But, BG found Brian Moten in the late stages of the shot clock, and he drained a 3, a clutch, gotta have it, gut-check three from our senior guard. He drained it, and the Falcons were up 2. 1:03 left.
Akron got the ball inside, and missed, but the rebound went out of bounds and they had another chance. Shot clock off, they got the ball inside, but BG had a foul to burn, and Erik Marschall used it. Finally, Akron shot again with :14 left, and this time Nate Miller ripped down the board and fired a breakaway pass to Moten who flushed home a huge dunk to underscore the victory. 50-46.
Faced with an opportunity to watch the whole thing wilt away, and the Falcons turned it around into a road victory. Playmakers made plays when we needed them. And the Falcons are in first place.
I'll tell you what, it was a fist pumping, heart racing moment. I'm so proud of our team.
Even today, in the beginning of this game, it looked a lot bleaker. With 6:42 left in the game, the Falcons had scored 6 points. 6 points. And it was starting to look like we were gonna have one of those nights where we couldn't get the ball through the basket. I don't know what we were shooting at that point, but we ended up shooting 43%, and I figure we probably shot 50% for the last 26 minutes of the game.
Meanwhile, Akron shot 30% for the whole game, and that's how we won. Others has observed that when you play great defense, you keep yourself in games, and I think that is a big part of what happened today. Defense kept it close until we could score enough to win. Play lousy D and that 3 by Moten is just a garbage hoop.
Think about it. 50-46 is the kind of score you saw in the 50's. I mean, maybe they should put in a shot clock or a three-point shot to increase scoring. Uh. Yeah.
No Akron player finished in double figures, and I'd love to know the last time we pulled that off...you just don't see that. In my preview, I said that we needed to get some play out of guards, because I thought Akron would play Miller pretty tough. And they did, holding him to 9 points. But Moten came through with 17 and Clements 12, and that was what we needed.
I also said we needed Otis to continue to be a force. Even though his numbers were not great (5 points and 4 rebounds), from Todd Walker's (excellent) call, you could hear Otis being a force inside, tipping some boards that other players ended up getting. Overall, he made plays on the inside, in addition to becoming our all-time blocked shots leader.
A big part of Akron's game is forcing turnovers, and BG made only 11 for the game, and hardly any after the first few minutes.
Finally, the game was won without Chris Knight, who remains sidelined with an injury. This team is clearly over-achieving right now, and playing good basketball at precisely the right moment. A great day to be a Falcon fan.