And that's that. From the hot days of August to a snowy March day, the arc has played itself out. A losing football season that had promise, and a barely winning men's basketball season that was promise unfulfilled.
The men's basketball team completed their arc with a loss last night, perhaps the worst loss of the season. RPI wise, it was our worst loss of the season. Add in that CMU's star, Trey Zeigler, shot 1-11 and had 3 points, and you'd definitely think you'd be winning that game.
Coaches Orr and Hopson both said that the tournament is a whole new season...the whole thing starts over. That doesn't really help make it better. Bowling Green never should have lost at home to that team, especially in a win or go home situation.
The second half was about as ugly a half of basketball as BG has played this year. Both Coaches said that you need a sense or urgency, and that BG did not play with it last night. I noted last night that BG fell into dreadful offense and could not buy a basket. Coach in his presser said that we didn't guard in the second half. Both are probably true.
BG shot 27% in the second half and was 1-11 from 3. The Falcons only turned the ball over 4 times in the half, so shots were getting to the rim, but they just wouldn't go in. (To be fair, Coach did say that we didn't shoot well enough to win, but his answer to that is to play better defense.) One last note---BG had 8 offensive rebounds in the second half and STILL shot 27%.
On the other end, CMU shot 61% and 5 of 6 from 3. That's an effective field goal % of 69%. So, yeah, we definitely didn't guard well enough to win in the second half. That's from a CMU team that was the 10th best shooting team in the MAC over the MAC season. And with their top scorer completely ineffective.
Coach makes the point that "we still had a chance to win the game," channeling his inner Gregg Brandon. The fact that we played so poorly and still almost one just makes it all the more disappointing. Shoot 35% in the second half and we win.
The end was wild. BG was ahead when the game hit the 2:00 mark, but Zeigler got an offensive rebound and fed Derek Jackson who nailed a 3 to give CMU a point point lead with 1:47 left. Dee Brown missed a 3 for BG and CMU ran clock before hitting Coimbra for an uncontested layup with :51 and a 3-point lead.
Incredibly enough, CMU fouled Jordon Crawford and he nailed both free throws and it was back to 1 with :39 left. BG had to foul and did after trying to steal the inbounds, and Jackson missed the front end of the one and on, and all of a sudden, BG had a chance to win the game.
Except for one thing. BG didn't box out, and CMU got the rebound and BG had to foul again.
And they missed the front end again. This time, BG rebounds. One point, :33. BG comes down and runs offense. CMU was very active on defense now, and for BG offense consists of one of the bigs coming out and setting a ball screen and Crawford running around it. In this case, Calhoun came out to set the pic and was called for an offensive foul.
Very unusual to see that call there, but I'm a big fan of making the calls you have to make, even late. I didn't see it...Coach Orr slammed the scorer's table in an unusual (or perhaps unprecedented) show of on-court emotion. The call hurt.
BG fouls again and Coimbra splits the pair. BG is STILL only down 2. No time outs, :08 left. BG comes down the floor. CMU now playing stifling D. Crawford dribbles all the way to the right sideline, where he draws a FREAKING blocking foul with :03 left. Hardly ever see that either...I've seen MAC players literally tackled in situations like that.
Anyway. Crawford goes to the line. Makes the first...but misses the second. BG down 1. CMU fails to corral the rebound and it goes out of bounds, off them. BG has one shot...one second.
No timeouts. Thomas goes to inbound. BG calls (according to Coach Hopson) play #5. Obviously, CMU is ready for lob to the basket and they have a guy there. They lob it to Oglesby who is near but not right on the rim, and he kind of taps the ball at the rim and it doesn't go down. He actually gets the ball off the rim and tries again and actually sinks the shot, but it was about .5 seconds after the buzzer.
I had a pretty good view. From me to Oglesby to the backboard was a straight line, and he clearly had the ball in his hands when the backboard lit up.
The officials went to the replay. Coach Stone was in such a state of apoplexy that I thought maybe I had seen it wrong and that the ball had rolled off his finger sooner than it looked like...and remember, that's a game winner. The official signaled no basket, Coach Stone slammed his keyboard to the court, and everyone went home.
So yeah, we had a bunch of chances to win the game. CMU kept trying to hand it back to us. And they still won. That's not much to hang your hat on.
Though he played a flawed game, Dee Brown kept BG in the game with 20 points. He was 7 of 19 from the field and had four turnovers, but at least he was eventually getting things to fall. Neither Thomas nor Calhoun shot over 30%, though Thomas did add 9 rebounds and 6 assists. Calhoun also had four turnovers. Coach said that CMU "packed it in" on defense, challenging BG to generate outside shots without going inside-out, and it clearly worked.
Crawford did add 13 points with 3 assists and 1 turnover. The only free throw he missed was his last.
We'll recap the season in the coming weeks with a potentially numbing amount of analysis. Midmajority.com has taught us that it always ends with a loss, and so, in that sense, it is in the rhythm of the seasons. I don't know if BG has ever had a worse loss in the MAC tournament...but it certainly was not how we thought the season would end when we stepped on the floor with Howard. You can't hide from the results.