Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Down Go the Rockets....

So, in the latest incarnation of the bitter rivalry, the Falcons came out ahead again this year in a game that rolled out pretty much as you would have expected it to on paper...meaning that BG played a solid but not overwhelming game against a team that is just really undermanned and underskilled....and the solid team won the game, relatively easily.

BG bolted out to a nice lead in the first half, leading by 9 just after the first media timeout.  The Rockets got the lead back to 1 before BG pushed back a little and ended the half up 6 points.  The keys here were that BG had shot 61% and scored 18 points in the paint and held UT to 20, and if I told you all that, you'd think we'd be up by more than 6, but we weren't.

At halftime, I kind of thought this could be the nightmare scenario....the Rockets hang close until the 10 minute mark, smell an opportunity and bring it home.  I didn't really see anything in the first half that made me think they could beat us, but with the Rockets, you don't like to take chances.

The start of the second half, however, determined the scenario that would govern the half, and it wasn't the one we feared.  Reacting to getting torched on the inside in the first half, UT came out in a zone, and BG nailed 3 treys in the first 3 minutes to go up 13, and from there UT never got closer than 9 and trailed by as many as 16, as BG ground out a victory.

Grinding out the win was made slightly easier by the fact that UT's offensive pace looks like they are protecting a 20 point lead rather than trying to close a deficit.  (The game had a stunningly low 48 possessions, the lowest this year by ten!)

In terms of stats, BG held a strong advantage in FG%, somewhat minimized by the fact that UT was 6 of 14 from beyond the arc...and BG did a much better job taking care of the ball than UT did.  The advantage in free throw rate that you see below is largely from the last minutes of the game...there were only 23 fouls called in the entire game, and that counts the last few minutes.  BG was called for only 7 fouls (a season low) and UT only shot 6 free throws, making 3.  Coach Orr cannot be happy that the Rockets did as well on the offensive boards as they did, but beyond that, these are the numbers you expect when a team wins by 11.

Individually, the tone for the game was established by Otis Polk and Erik Marschall, who collectively were 10 of 15 from the floor.  In the second half, things were open for the guards, and Scott Thomas and Dee Brown ended up 11 of 19 for the game and 3 of 7 from 3, which is also pretty good shooting.

BG played a very tight rotation, with the five starters playing 85% of the total minutes.  In the post-game, Coach said that given the glacial pace of the game, it wasn't like you needed to substitute a lot.  Only 2 points came off the bench.

So, that's the tale....essentially, the game played out like it should have on paper.  We can rest easy that if Toledo gets a win in the MAC, it will not be at our expense.

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