Saturday, December 22, 2012

Heartbreaking Loss, Part II

So, turning from the drama to the numbers, I continue to examine the Falcon loss at South Florida last night.

The biggest news is that BG played 2-3 zone for the game, which is the first time they have used it all season.  Coach Hopson said after the game that BG did not feel like they could guard USF in a man to man--the Bulls have some big wing players.  He said that was a shame because the man defense has been good lately.

So, they went to the zone and Coach Hopson conceded that we were probably a little rusty.  BG did end up getting stops in the last 10 minutes of regulation, but in total, it was a game where BG's ability to score is responsible for the team being in the game and not defense.

BG allowed 1.11 points per possession, which is a lot.  BG was able to score 1.08 points, which is their best since the Detroit game.

BG outshot USF, which is remarkable in itself. BG shot 43% from the field and made 11 of 30 from beyond the arc.  (Note:  lost in that is that BG was 10-20 from beyond the arc in regulation and then 1-10 in overtime).

Despite being outshot, South Florida was able to pick up the win by taking very, very good care of the ball (10 turnovers in 55 minutes, or 13% of possessions), pick up 44% of their available offensive rebounds, and, most importantly, have a +9 advantage in free throws.  BG had 20 fouls called and USF had only 12 for the game.

For its part, BG only had 14 turnovers (18%) and had 37% of the available offensive rebounds, which are both pretty good results.  However, the small advantages the Bulls had in those areas, combined with the big advantage at the line, allowed them to win despite being outshot.

Individually, Jordon Crawford had a career high 27 on 10-21 shooting, 4 of 9 from 3, to go with 6 rebounds and 4 assists.  He did have 7 turnovers.  In the post-game, the Tampa media was asking about Crawford, and Coach Orr said something like, "I'm learning as I go" with Jordon, and then he said something like, you just have to let him be.

You can read into that what you want.  He scored nothing in the first 20 and then 27 in the next 25.  He made huge, huge plays and then made 7 turnovers.

A'uston Calhoun had a hard-earned 22 points on 9-22 shooting, he was 1-6 from beyond the arc (?), and added 8 rebounds.

Cam Black had 7 points (3 of 3 shooting) and 6 rebounds in 27 minutes, which is pretty respectable (though he did foul out).  James Erger had 4 rebounds in 36 minutes and Richaun Holmes had 5 blocked shots.

For those of you who are interested in minutes played, Anthony Henderson played 44 and Erger played 36, while Orr played 19 (7 points and 4 rebounds on 50% shooting) and Kraus played 11, Clarke 6 and Sealey 6.

Coach Hopson said BG used the lineup it did in OT because it seemed to be working.  That lineup was Crawford, Henderson, Erger, Calhoun and Holmes.

The Falcons seem to have increasing confidence in Anthony Henderson.  He had 9 points on 3-9 shooting but was 3-6 from 3.  BG had 21 bench points last night...Todd Walker made the point that the team needs an answer to a surrounded Calhoun with the ball in the paint, and if Orr and Henderson can provide that moving forward (along with Crawford) we become a lot harder to defend.

So, the Falcons head into the Christmas break on a disappointing note.  They are 5-6 and 3-6 in D1 competition.  Having said that, I actually think they are better than they were expected to be.  They had been playing better over the past few games, but those were at home and you didn't know how that counted, but this one was on the road and they played well.

Their Kenpom rating is 177 which is right in the middle of D1, (6th in the MAC as well) and again, better than I thought they were going to be and better than they looked like they were going to be early on.

It will be interesting to see how the team reacts to this break.  They can either come back recognizing they might be relatively close or they can come back discouraged.  They have a very winnable game against North Dakota (though away) on the 29th and then @Temple.

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