Sunday, January 20, 2013

Road Woes Continue

The Falcons saw the road woes that have plagued them continue last night in Buffalo as they lost to the Bulls 68-65.

The Falcons are now 6-11, 4-11 against D1 competition and 1-3 in the MAC, in a four-way tie for the bottom of the league.  BG is 0-7 on the road.

The game was, in terms of flow, very much like the Miami game.  BG was in the lead for most of the game, starting with a 3-1 lead in the first minute.  The Falcons led by 8 at halftime, but the Bulls came bolting out of the locker room and had the game time 1:40 or so into the half.

The Falcons fought that run off and rebuilt their lead.  In fact, with about 12 minutes left, BG led by 9.  The Bulls came back again, scoring 9 straight points and the game was tied.  Buffalo didn't take the lead until there were 8 minutes left.  BG led one more time, and it was a closely fought game until the finish.

What doomed BG was something that has happened before.  BG scored its last FG in the game with 5:46 left in the game and did not score at all from the 3:57 to the :07 mark.  Even if you get stops, it is pretty hard to win a game with you go 10% of the game without scoring.  (5 missed shots and a turnover, down the stretch, BTW).

Also much like the Miami game, once the game was tied at 63 with 3:57 left, there was a long period of time when neither team scored.  In fact, the score stayed 63-63 until Javon McCrea scored with about :30 left in the game.  He had a chance for the and-one, but he missed, BG came down and ended up with (no surprise here) a Jordon Crawford 3-ball, which missed.

With :12 left, McCrea made 2 more free throws to put them up 4.  The Bulls fouled Crawford with :07 left and he made both free throws to get the deficit down to 2.  BG fouled, the Bulls split the pair of FTs and BG still had a last gasp but Crawford missed a 3 at the buzzer.

Also like the Miami game, BG wasted a decent offensive performance in the defeat.  BG had 1.04 points per possession.  Field goal shooting was certainly poor at 37%, but BG made 50% of its 3-balls and got to the line a lot and converted well there and took good care of the ball, and that added up to an above average night on offense.

Unfortunately, Buffalo shot 44% from the field, and while they only shot 33% from 3FG, they also did well at the line and took good care of the ball, and that was enough for them to beat the Falcons.  They ended up with 1.09 points per possession.  BG is 1-8 this year when allowing 1.05 points per possession, so 1.09 is in the no-fly zone.

The biggest disappointment was turnovers.  Buffalo has been awful at turning the ball over this year and BG has been pretty good.  That stat was pretty even last night, and all those extra possessions were what allowed Buffalo to get the points they needed.

Individually, Javon McCrea is just a beast.  He scored 21 points and had 14 rebounds.  BG did a credible job keeping him from making shots (7 of 15) but in the end, he was just way too much for BG to handle.  Jarryn Skeete, the PG who replaced Oldham when he went down, had 16 on 6 of 8 shooting and that made a huge difference for Buffalo.

A'uston Calhoun really struggled.  He did score 16, but that came at a huge cost--5 of 20 shooting from the field.  He also led the team with 8 rebounds.  Crawford scored 18 on 6 of 16 shooting, with 4 assists and only one turnover.  Chauncey Orr had a nice game, as well, with 14 points on 5 of 6 shooting and 4 rebounds.  Richaun Holmes had 7 points, 7 rebounds and 2 blocks in 17 minutes.

BG is having some injury issues.  Sealey is back, but he played only one minute and went down again.  Jehvon Clarke did not play and James Erger left the floor as well.

Anthony Henderson played only 12 minutes and Kraus played 30, which is more or less the opposite of the way it has been going.

And so it goes.  The Falcons have now loss 7 of their last 8.  They finally get to come home again on Wednesday, but the opponent is Kent.  The Flashes are 11-7 and 2-2 in the MAC after losing to Akron yesterday at the MACC.  BG has an RPI of 294 and a kenpom of 217, whereas Kent has an RPI of 170 and a kenpom of 112.

The Falcons have had a lot of road games to start off the MAC schedule, but that puts extra pressure on them to win at home.  They're going to need every bit of the home court to beat the Flashes, who won by 12 @ Buffalo.

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