The last two road games (and the last two MAC games) have hinged on one possession. In Athens, BG battled back to take the lead with about 5 minutes left and had the ball, with a chance to extend the lead and instead turned the ball over and saw OU go on a 20-4 run.
Last night at the JAR, BG had battled back to create a one-possession game and then got a stop and had the ball. Cvetinovic got a block on Clarke and Akron converted at the other end with a hoop to go up 5 with 1:28 left. BG followed up with a turnover and Akron hit another layup to be up 7 with just under a minute left and it was all over.
That's what it has boiled down to. You either need to make those plays, or be so far ahead that you don't need to...but seeing that Akron and OU needed to make the plays, I guess you can figure you have to make 'em. It might be a thin line, but it separates victory from defeat, and that's the biggest gulf in sports.
Akron won the game mostly by tearing up the Falcon defense. Akron scored 1.25 points per possession against BG, which is the 4th worst game for the Falcons this year and the second worst in MAC play. Just for perspective, BG has not won any games allowing more than 1.08 and has only once once above 1.02. This team simply cannot win without playing good defense, and certainly can't when a team goes for 1.25. (Last note: this is roughly BG's offensive efficiency against Malone.
BG had a decent offensive game at 1.08. But, the end analysis, Akron beat BG decisively in every facet of the game.
Individually, it was a good night for A'uston Calhoun, who scored 18 points on 8-13 shooting to go with 7 rebounds. Crawford had 13 points on 6 of 10 shooting and 3 assists in only 24 minutes. Dee Brown had 11 points though he short poorly. Thomas shot poorly too, but he did have 7 assists. Cam Black seemed to have another improved game with 5 rebounds in 26 minutes. Jehvon Clarke scored 9 points in 16 minutes, though he needed 11 shots to do it.
And that's how it played out. BG fell into 6th place and continues to face a very hard ride home. The game against Kent becomes very important Saturday, as does the Miami game the following Wednesday. Both are critical to BG's seeding. A bye is gone, (or all but, I haven't look at every scenario) but a finish in 5th or 6th nets a home game and at least gets NIU or CMU into the Stroh and probably gets the Falcons back to the Stroh.
There's no reason to think that BG is ready to beat the MAC's better teams for three straight nights, but we can't find that out until we get there.