Catching up with yesterday's action...
BG lost to Miami in a game with a good finish, but during which Miami was the stronger team most of the way. First, a look at how the game flowed, and then a look at how it unfolded.
After a close start, Miami got their sea legs and led by 10 with about 10 minutes left to go in the first half and while that shifted around a little, they still led by 9 at halftime.
In the second half, from 14:33 to 4:27, Miami's lead was never below 7 and was above 10 for all but one minute. From there, BG played very hard to make it a game, but was always one possession short of really putting heat on Miami.
For example, with 3:11 left the lead was 6 and a stop gets the Falcons a shot, and they get a missed shot but give up the offensive board for a +1 putback.
BG was then down 10 with 1:52 left. Scott Thomas drained a 3 and Dee Brown drained another one after Mavunga missed a dunk. Miami made half of a 2-shot foul (+5) and then Dee Brown drained another 3 with :38. Mavunga was fouled and split the pair, and BG had inexplicably found itself within one possession of tying the game.
Brown drove into the paint and missed his shot, and from there the game was never within one possession again.
This was a game played the way Miami likes to play. The game had 72 possessions, which is the second highest for BG in a 40-minute game this season. Miami scored 1.17 points per possession, however, which is the 5th worst game of the season for BG in terms of points per possession. BG did a reasonable job defending the shot and scoring for themselves (1.07 points per possession, 4th best in MAC play), but some of the shot defense was done at the expense of allowing free throws.
And there the laughter turned to sadness.
There were a ridiculous 61 free throws shot by both teams in the game. Miami was 27 of 36 for 75% and BG hit 15 of 25 for 60%. (Miami's 27 made and 36 attempts are season lows for BG). Meanwhile BG has shot worse than 60% 11 times this year.
That +12 advantage on free throws was more than the difference. BG actually had two more FGs and one more 3 than Miami did, in the end, but put Miami on the line and watched the RedHawks convert too many times while BG did poorly with its free throws.
The other measures are all pretty equal. BG stabilized its defensive rebounding, especially in the second half, and turnovers were even both ways. BG won the first meeting on turnovers, and in this game, made more and forced fewer. But, that's washed itself out...BG was beaten on the free throw line.
Individually, Mavunga was just a lot for us to handle. They were putting him up high on our zone, and he was just really tough for us to defend up there with our guards. Having a player who can do that is a huge weapon against a zone, and they employed it with ruthless efficiency. Mavunga ended up with 22 points and 6 assists working out of that set, and added 11 boards and 10-12 from the line. He's a really good MAC player.
Orlando Williams had a red-hot night with 26 points on 8-9 shooting and 5-6 on treys. Winbush struggled to shoot but had 16 points and 11 rebounds on 7-8 FT shooting.
For BG, A'uston Calhoun had another nice night with 21 points and a team-high 5 rebounds. He did foul out again. He has the ability to do what Mavunga does, but is going to need to score at the line to be an even better player than he is now. Brown had 17 with 3 treys and perfect FT shooting, and Scott Thomas added 14 on 5-9 shooting. Jordan Crawford got the start, played 39 minutes, and had 9 points and 9 assists. Oglesby had 8 points and 4 rebounds in 18 minutes, his most effective game in a while.
Anyway, BG lost for the 5th straight time. As we will see later tonight, they are still in reasonable positon to pick up a home game for the MAC tournament, largely hanging on that last game against Buffalo, but not entirely. Even though the finish was close yesterday, BG was behind most of the way and deserves credit for staying with it, but in the end Miami was in charge most of the way.
The game against Kent will not be easy--especially with them losing at home to OU. On the other hand, they have their arch-rival game looming ahead...it would be a great night to see the Falcons put things back together again.