The Falcons lost their seventh straight game last night to Western Kentucky, a game in which they fell behind by 17 before getting the game within 2 points and then losing by 7 after going the last 2:11 without scoring.
I listened to Coach Orr's presser. He said something which I thought was pretty telling:
"Sometimes the Lord lets you get in a place that stretches your faith."
And to that I can agree. As I thought about the game last night, I certainly was having stretched faith as to where the program is. To date, this is a historically bad Bowling Green team, one of the worst in memory. You just don't expect to be in this spot after four years with a Coach. Right now, we're no better than we were when Dakich left and we might be worse. I'm not trying to rip anyone....these things just seem apparent to me.
Coach also talked about trying to find our identity. I'd put it another way. We just look lost out there. The ball won't go in the basket. Guys get big minutes one game and limited to no meetings the next. Guys start, and then disappear. Someone has a good game, and then doesn't. Shot clocks run down and no one tries to create anything. Balls are passed to players who don't seem to expect it. We just look lost.
The game, in total, was pretty depressing last night. BG shot 30% from the field, our fourth game out of 9 where we have been 30 or below. (We are 340th out of 345 in the country in FG%). We scored .73 points per possession, which was our second worst game of the year. (We are 337th in offensive efficiency). There's no point in calling out individual players because nobody is shooting well, but the frontcourt just didn't hit anything last night. We have a young player who has missed at least his last 11 shots. We also turned the ball over on 28% of our possessions, our 3rd highest of the season.
To add to horrid shooting, we gave up 45% shooting and 32 free throw attempts on our home floor. In fact, BG had more FGs than WKU did, but lost the game mostly in the number of FTs given up. We aren't playing the kind of defense that lets a team get away with shooting this badly.
So, how did this game even get to be close? Here's the game flow.
BG was down 17 with 14 minutes left and down 12 with 10 minutes left. We did put together a very strong rally in the second half and played with some "energy and tenacity" as Coach says. My test is whether you had possession of the ball in a one possession game, and we did.
- With 1:45 left, BG was down 2 and Dee Brown missed a jumper, ended up with the rebound and missed another jumper.
- With 1:00 left or so, down 3, BG had the ball. Crawford missed a jumper, McElroy got the offensive board and missed the putback, and and then WKU rebounded, was fouled, and there was not another possession where BG was within one score of tying the game.
The Falcons did not score the last 2 minutes. Coach was asked about this, and he said that he thought we got good shots ("very makeable") and they just didn't go in, which is what he usually says in this situation. In a sense, if you were running bad offense, you could fix it. It seems hard to fix this, and this team is in a long shooting slump.
With all this misery, you might wonder how this even came to be a game at all. The reason is that WKU had 29 turnovers, which means they turned the ball over on 2 out of every 5 possessions in the game. Their coach told their radio network that he did not want to see anyone "smiling" in the locker room afterwards. They have struggled with turning the ball over, and BG seemed to get some energy and momentum out of doing some trapping, and Coach allowed as to how that might end up being the team's identity.
He then said "you gotta play," meaning, I assume, that you have to do the things basketball players do, one of which is sink open shots and layups. He said our guards need to make plays, to create things for other people.
FWIW, here is a picture of the sad tale of woe.
Anyway, it is a pretty discouraging time in the men's basketball program. Coach said several times that we will get there. I certainly hope so, because right now, this is a low point at the end of what has been a historic low period for our program. I'm going to have faith that this is going to turn around, and when the word faith is used here, it is truly being used in its full meaning. It means that you think things will turn around even when there is little to no visual evidence that it is or that it will.