The Falcons picked up another nice win against an OU team that I think is better than their 0-4 MAC record. Regardless, it represented a solid victory for our team in a hard-fought game.
The key element can be seen in the game flow below. Head over the right to where there are about 3:30 left, and notice what happens to that little green line....it goes flat. BG outscored OU 11-0 over that time period, and by pitching a shut out coming down the stretch, BG effectively closed the door on the win. This is the second straight game where we have finished this strong, and it is a huge strength to a team. It is even more a credit when you see that we played a really tight rotation last night, so obviously, our guys are well-conditioned and prepared to grind as long as it takes.
The game pattern was familiar in other ways, as well. BG ran out to a decent lead and then struggled for the remainder of the half and headed into the locker down 8. The Falcons came out and scored the first 6 points of the second half, and from there on in it was the kind of tight, possession to possession game that we appear to be good at.
One of the questions heading into the game was about tempo. OU was second in the MAC in scoring, and that's not BG's game. This game had only 58 possessions, tied with the Temple game for the lowest amount of the season.
BG got the job done on the defensive end. OU shot only 37% from the field. And, more importantly, BG finally succeeded in shutting down the 3, as OU was only 3 of 21 on the long ball, which is the lowest number of 3s made against us since Fordham. OU averaged about one point per possession, and that, combined with the extremely slow tempo, put them way behind their average.
Meanwhile, BG did enjoy some success offensively as well. BG shot nearly 47% from the field, and made over 40% from 3, and those two things combined gave BG a significant advantage in effective FG%. BG also got to the line a little more, and had a +4 advantage on free throws (shooting a perfectly acceptable 72%), which helps.
The final stats show only 11 turnovers for BG, but remember that is mitigated a little bit by the low number of overall possessions. Still, that is a 19% turnover percentage, a little below the season average. We do seem very susceptible to pressure, and I can only conclude that OU didn't stay in pressure because it isn't their game. It is one area that the Falcons can use improvement in.
As you can see, rebounding was pretty even.
There was 42 fouls in a game with 116 possessions. Sometimes, I don't understand what the MAC officials think they are doing, but the for periods of the game last night, the density of fouls was stupefying.
Individually, Joe Jakubowski had a huge night, with 18 points and only one missed shot and one turnover, meaning he scored those points without using up a bunch of possessions. Scott Thomas had 16 points, and while he was cold from the field, he had 5 boards and was 9 of 10 from the line, including some clutch free throws in the stretch. Erik Marschall contributed 12 points and 9 boards, and is becoming a really valuable inside scorer for us. He always has had the ability to score in the post, he just has the knack of finding a way to get the ball onto the glass.
As noted, only six Falcons played more than 10 minutes. We ran a really narrow rotation and I can't imagine that's healthy in the long term, but it was apparently the best way for us to win the game.
So, with a 2-2 MAC record, the team now is only one game out of the East lead and certainly is in contention. Next up are the RedHawks and the evil genius, Charlie Coles, which promises to be a test for us. Of course, every game is a test for us, and that's why this grind it out mentality is so good. One thing I am sure of...our team was better the last two games than the individual parts would appear on paper.