Sunday, February 20, 2011

Falcons Lost Bracket Buster in Youngstown

Well, right now the season is in phase III.

Phase I was the 1-8 start.
Phase II was the 10-3 run.
Phase III is the 1-4 run.

The hope for Falcon fans is that the season can still have a Phase IV.

The failure is almost entirely on the defensive side of the ball. One thing you worry about in a late season swoon is that the "book is out."  I don't know if that's the case, but the last two games have resulted in teams torching our perimeter defense with 3-FG, and that has killed us.  YSU shot 40% from the field and made 11 3s to mix with 50% in general.

Last year, BG was worst in the MAC in defending the 3.  My theory is that we simply don't have the ability to consistently guard the perimeter in our zone.  We started out the year hoping to play both man and zone, but for the second straight year, have found that we can only defend in a zone.  Anyway, while it should be possible to defend the perimeter from the zone, we struggled last year, and this year as well.  BG is 10th in the MAC in 3FG% allowed, 11th in 3FG made and allowed.

I think BG has been allowing higher percentages than they would have liked for most of the season, but at one time was making it by getting steals and turnovers which did not happen in this game.  (BG got steals on only 1.7% of possessions, a season low).

YSU scored 1.17 points per possession.  Our team simply cannot win like that.  In fact, BG has not won a game all year when it has allowed more than 1.02 points per possession.  It was the third most 3s made against BG this season.  Add to that a -6 deficit in FT shooting, and you have a losing defensive performance.

This game was like the CMU game as well.  BG shot great in the first half (60%), but only led by 3.  Then BG shot under 40% with 8 turnovers in the 2nd Half, and that was unsustainable given what we were seeing on the defensive side of the ball.  BG shot dreadfully from the FT line (40%), tied for the worst of the season.

On a plus, we did have our best rebounding game in a while.

Individually, some players did have good games.  Scott Thomas returned to double figures with a 13/14 double-double with 5 assists, and A'uston Calhoun had 16 points and 8 rebounds.  Jordan Crawford had 13 points and a season high 9 assists, and Danny McElroy scored 10 points on 5 of 6 shooting.  BG did score 1.07 points per possession, plenty good enough to win, in general.  Just a note, these are the same guys who play defense for us too, for which there are no offensive stats.

Of course, this game was a break from the MAC pressure cooker, which starts up right away again this week.  BG has tough road games at OU and at Miami, both teams we beat on our floor.  In fact, there are no easy games left.  After that Kent comes to BG, followed by Buffalo.  As Coach Orr said after the game, the team needs to get back to guarding better if this team is going to create a Phase IV to the season.

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