Sunday, February 21, 2010

Falcons Bring Scoring Game, defeat Valparaiso

You know, from time to time after a close loss, people will try to console me by telling me that "at least it was a close game." To some people, even a close win is considered a virtue.

I submit to you that as a fan, the last thing you want is a close game. Yesterday's game is more my style.

BG scored the first nine points, had a 25 point lead in the second half, and despite some sloppy play never let Valpo closer than 11 points as we cruised home to a 17 point victory, aided by a spate of kamikizae fouling in the final two minutes by Valpo. BG shot 60% in the first half while really clamping down on the Crusaders and that was when the game wad decided.

Where to start?  I don't think there is much doubt that this was our best offensive performance of the season.  It was our most points, topping the UWM game that went into overtime.  It was our second best FG%, second best FT%, and our most efficient offensive performance (1.22 points per possession).

In the first half, when the game was won, BG had 49 points on 32 possessions, a 1.32 points per possession rate that can compete with any offense.

Obviously, part of this is about getting hot.  But BG really did follow the old "inside out" game plan, even if we were a little light on the "out" part.  BG had 50 points in the paint, and when the ball wasn't being poured into the key to a big man, Thomas and Brown were driving into the key.  BG took only 6 3s for the whole game---and that is the way Coach Orr wants to play.

Valpo did not come into the arena as a very good defensive team, and BG appeared to take advantage of that. Now, they're not THAT bad a defensive team, but clearly, we had a game plan and worked it to success.

Of course, Coach Orr actually credited the victory to the defense in the first half....and not without some merit.  Valpo shot only 32% in the first half, 20% from beyond the arc, and obviously that had a role in the big halftime lead.

Not to be lost in all this is the free throw shooting. BG was 24 of 28 from the line, among our top performances of the season. It is nearly impossible for a team to lose a big lead when they are shooting the FT well.

Individually, Joe Jakubowski had his best game of the season, according to Coach Orr. He had 19 points, 3 assists and 3 steals, made all this 3s and all 8 of this free throws. Beyond that, he controlled the game from the point, engineering the inside play that put BG over the top.

Dee Brown had 20 points and 5 assists, and Scott Thomas had 12 points, 11 rebounds, six assists and 4 steals in a full 40 minutes of play. Erik Marschall scored 17 with 5 boards and Otis scored 11 points in 16 minutes of play, as he battled foul trouble. Even Marc Larson contributed 29 pretty solid minutes.

On a plus minus front, the team was 15 points better with Marschall in the lineup than without him, and 13 points better with Jakubowski in the lineup than without him.

So, a very pleasant interlude in Anderson Arena for our Falcons. We are now 14-12, and are one win from getting a winning season from 2009-10. The next two games are very tough, but I believe our team can compete with any of those opponents, and I look forward to watching it unfold.

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