Thursday, January 24, 2013

Falcons Make Baskets, Win Game

The Falcons got a very badly needed win last night over the Kent State Golden Flashes--one of the better teams in the MAC even if this year they are not in the top tier.  BG was at home again, and while they have played poorly on the road, they have been pretty good at home.

This game was never really close.  BG was in control most of the way, winning 70-55.  To illustrate.  With about 11 minutes left, BG was up 3 and Kent had the ball.  They had two shots at the basket and after a Holmes block, BG had the ball.  The Falcons game down and scored.

That possession for Kent was the last time the game was a one possession game.  For the last 31 minutes of the game, Kent never once had the chance to tie the game.  In fact, the game never got closer than 5 points and never closer than 7 throughout the first half.

For a Falcon team that has been struggling, they have to receive credit for a very strong performance last night.

A good example was the end of the first half.  With 2:20 left, BG led by 5.  The last minutes of both halfs have been problematic of late, but this time, BG responded with an 8-0 run over those 2 minutes to lead by 13 at the break.

The second half had similar moments.  With 10:39 left Kent had it to 7, but less than 3 minutes later BG had a 6-0 to put it back to 13.

With 6:22 left, Kent had it to 8.  BG responded with a 3 minutes, 8-1 run to make the lead 15 and pretty much put the game away.

So, after recent games where BG had held the lead for a significant period of time only to end up in a fingernail chewing moment, this time the Falcons repulsed all the charges and ended up with a 15 point victory.

It was tied for the biggest margin of victory this season.

BG has played pretty decent offense in the past two games but been porous on defense.  Last night, BG finally brought some good offense to bear against very, very effective defense.

BG shot 45% from the field, which is good but not eye popping.  However, they shot 42% from the 3FG and only turned the ball over 12 times.  BG also was 70% from the line and had the same number of FTs made as Kent did, eliminating the advantage they have had all year in that category.

Simply put, with 12 turnovers, 45% shooting and a decent proportion of quality 3s, you can score enough to win a game.  BG ended up with 1.06 points per possession, their highest since the Detroit game and their third straight game over 1 point per possession.

It is definitely good enough to win when you play defense like BG did.  Kent shot 36% from the field and 17% from beyond the arc and made 15 turnovers (and shot 60% from the line, a gift to BG) and that all equals out to .83 points per possession which is the best since EMU and before that the Samford game.

The game was played at 66 possessions, which is a little above BG's normal pace.

On an individual basis, Chauncey Orr lead BG is scoring with an highly efficient 18 points.  He did it with 9 shots, in fact. He was 5 of 9 shooting, 4 of 5 from 3 and 4 of 4 from the line.  Orr had a big game against MSU, and then struggled to score over the next 6 games.  He has now been in double figures the last two games, shooting 10 of 15.  It would be great to see him become someone who can consistently hit shots.  I said it before--this team becomes completely different on offense  if Orr is shooting the ball effectively.  I don't know if he will turn into a player like that but it would make a big difference.

Calhoun had 12 points on 5 of 10 shooting to go with 13 rebounds.  He did have 13 rebounds.  Crawford also had 12 points, but he shot 5 of 14.  He had 6 assists, 5 turnovers and 4 steals.

Richaun Holmes had 8 points, 4 rebounds and 4 blocks in 25 minutes.  Anthony Henderson had 8 points on a very poor shooting night (2-9).  Having said that, I think Henderson is playing with more confidence.  Shooters sometimes have off nights, but I just sense he is getting better.

Spencer Parker only played a couple minutes, but I thought he showed some initiative as well.  Sealey was back and played 9 minutes.  Clarke and Erger were injured and did not dress.

So, the Falcons join 8 MAC teams at 2-3 in conference play.  They get a chance to win their first road game Saturday against the hated UT Rockets....and there would be no better time to both BREAK the road losing streak and extend our winning streak against UT, which currently stands at 3.  Following that, Akron comes into the Stroh.

There's no antidote for struggles like a win.  As always, the challenge is to see if the Falcons can create consistent success and string together some wins.  Last night was encouraging, but certainly not the end of the story.

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