Friday, December 23, 2011

Falcons Enter Holidays With Road Win

The Falcons went down to South Beach, and while it sounded pretty ugly at times, eventually put together enough to beat FIU for the third straight season and enter a short holiday break with a 6-5 record and a first road win.

FIU entered the game short-handed, as their leading scorer and rebounder, DeJuan Wright, did not play. The first half was not pretty.  BG shot 28% from the field and FIU shot 50%.  BG was 2-11 from beyond the arc.  FIU led by 10 with 5 minutes left in the half, in fact, but BG went on a 10-4 run to cut the margin heading into the locker room.  FIU did have 8 first half turnovers and BG had 4 to go with a +4 FT advantage, which helps account for the closer than expected score.

In the second half, BG pushed the spread to 2 a couple of times, and then FIU blew it back up to 6 about four minutes in.  BG first got the game to even with 14 left when James Erger hit a jumper.  FIU took the lead back again, and BG did not actually take the lead until there was 10:30 left on a Dee Brown layup.  The lead bounced back and forth for a while, and then Scott Thomas hit a layup with 7 minutes left to give BG a lead it would never relinquish.

The key closing sequence came just after FIU had nailed a 3 to cut the lead to 3 with about 3 minutes left.  BG was really struggling running offense, and Jordan Crawford nailed a jumper to bail them out as the shot clock was running out.  FIU had similar struggles and a shot late in the clock was blocked by Oglesby.  On the other end, again deep in the clock, Thomas fired a 3 that missed, but A'uston Calhoun who had struggled all night, slammed the rebound home and the lead was 7 with 1:13 left and the game was over.

The second half was statistically much different from the first.  BG shot 58% and FIU shot 32%.  It was sloppy--BG made 12 turnovers and FIU 10--and the Falcons outrebounded FIU 20-12.

Neither team had a great deal offensively.  BG scored .94 points per possession, but FIU scored only .82.  As you can see, BG won most of the key statistical categories by the time it was all over.  BG was +7 at the free throw line and committed only 11 fouls (8 of them by two players, Calhoun and Oglesby).

Individually, it was a huge game for Scott Thomas.  There's been an interesting thread on about Thomas, who is going to end up as a statistical leader in numerous career categories.  It is remarkable to look at, because he seems to do much of it without being noticed.  He is such a steady player and so good in so many phases that I don't think people appreciate what a good player he is.

Anyway, Thomas had 18 points, 11 rebounds, 7 assists and 4 steals.  (He did make 5 turnovers).  That's a pretty good line for anyone.  Crawford had 15 with 3 assists and 4 steals and Oglesby had 11 points.  Calhoun had a rough game, playing only 16 minutes, but still contributed 7 points and 6 rebounds and made a play in the last 2 minutes when the team really needed it.

We had wondered after the MSU game if we would see any shifting in playing time to some younger players.  Jehvon Clarke got 17 minutes in the game as did Craig Sealey, while Dee Brown played 24 and Luke Kraus played only 5 minutes.

Next up for the Falcons is Duquesne, a team we have really struggled with the past two seasons.  The FIU win was nice, especially on the road.  They are not a great team and they were down a top guy, and you should beat a team like that and BG did.  Just two more games left before the conference season starts.

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