Sunday, February 07, 2010

Five seconds......five freaking seconds....

Yesterday's loss, as acknowledged by Coach Orr in his post-game presser, was a tough one to swallow.

You're on the road, you've stood even with a team for 39:55 and you have the ball and a 1 one point lead.  All you have to do is hold onto it long enough to be fouled, and you are 99% certain of winning the game.

Instead, BG turned it over, David Kool hit a layup, and the game went from what would have been a feather in the team's cap to the season's most disappointing loss, by far.

Beyond the last :05, BG actually led the game by 11 with about 8 minutes left, but then WMU went on a crazy run and had tied the game with about 4:30 left.  Coach Orr took a stunning 3 timeouts trying to stem this run, which, obviously, did not have the desired effect.  To BG's credit, the team settled back in and took the lead back and lead by 3 with :17 left.

But Kool was allowed to charge the length of the court off a Polk basket and hit a runner to cut the lead to one and then the whole steal fiasco occurred.

A couple notes.  First, had BG had timeouts left, it could have called one when we were in trouble in the last seconds.  However, I do agree with Coach Orr that if you don't use those timeouts earlier, it might not have been a close game at all.  You use them when you need them, and saving them for a situation that might or might not happen doesn't make sense to me.  The fact we didn't have any timeouts left was more an effect of our poor play during that 4 minutes than a coaching decision.

Second is that BG has had difficulty with pressure all season.  Todd Walker made this point on the broadcast, and I have observed it myself.  Even if BG does not turn the ball over, it does not look comfortable running against pressure and it clearly takes us out of our game.  We often almost turn the ball over, and I think that hurts our focus.  We are so deliberate on offense that asking us to run our half court game in :25 instead of :35 can have an impact.

Coach Orr said that BG has not had problems with pressure.  No idea what that can mean.

Stat wise, the game looks like a one point game.  The key element in this game was that BG shot the ball well, and that kept us in the game.  We shot 60% in the second half...we shoot well so rarely that it is just a killer not to convert that into a win.  Even more disappointing is that we had 10 turnovers in the second half...if we convert even some of those into shots, they're probably going in.  Beyond that, Western's advantage on 3s was pretty decisive.  (Check this new chart out from my friends at

Looking at the four factors, WMU had advantages on turnovers and offensive rebounding (slight), and that FT line is misleading because the teams actually MADE the same number of free throws, though Western was better at getting to the line.

Individually, a number of players had nice games for BG. Scott Thomas hung in there for 14 points, though he did not shoot especially well, and added 6 rebounds.  Otis had 14 points too on 6 of 9 shooting, Dee Brown had 13 and Marschall had 10.  Not to be forgotten is that Jordan Crawford had 9 points, 6 assists and 1 turnover in 21 minutes of play, which is a pretty good line, and from Walker's descriptions, a couple of his passes were show stoppers.  (Jakubowski played 27 minutes).

So, that is the sad tale of woe from Kalamazoo.  You put it all together for one day, and then fail because you can't hold a lead for the last 10 seconds of the game.  Very disappointing, and I am sure the team feels the same way times 3.  Time stops for no team, however, and the reeling NIU Huskies come in on Thursday, and that's as good a time as any to get this put back together.

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