Thursday, January 17, 2013

Road Woes Continue...RedHawks Prevail

The road woes continued for the Falcons, losing a game in Oxford last night that they controlled until the final minutes.

The disappointing thing was that after many games where the Falcons struggled to make shots, they wasted a game where they did make shots by not playing strong defense.

Coming into the game, BG was 4th in the MAC in defensive efficiency for the year and had been playing pretty solid defense--more solid than I had realized.

Miami, for its part, has not been a great defensive team, and BG scored 1.05 points per possession.  BG shot 58% for the game which was a season high--they had never even shot 50%.  Furthermore, the new Redhawk team wants to press and play more upbeat, but this game was actually played at a Charlie Coles-Louis Orr (and BG friendly) pace, with only 57 possessions for the game.

So, what happened?  First, Miami shot 55%, which is the second worst performance for the BG defense this year.  In fact, BG has not beaten a team that shot better than 40.8% from the field, which is a pretty remarkable stat if you think about it. Secondly, Miami, who came in as a very poor offensive rebounding teams, was allowed to gather 41% of their missed shots on the offensive boards.

In a close game, those things made the difference.

Beyond the fact that a big shooting game went down the tubes, the other disappointing part of the game was that BG was in controlmost of the way, where they seemed again to be unable to make the plays needed to win, especially on the road.

BG took the lead with 11 minutes left in the first half and held that lead until there were 5 minutes left in the game.  Even then, the game was only tied.  Miami did not regain the lead until there were 3 minutes left in the game.  At that point, the score was 59-58.

For the remaining 3 minutes, BG made only one basket.  Worse, they did not score at all over the last 2:36, and for the last 3 minutes, they only attempted two shots and had two possessions with turnovers.

Miami was up 1 for most of the final minute until they hit a shot with :19 left to go up 3.  BG had one more shot to get a 3 and turned the ball over.

This has been a pattern for the Falcons.  They simply have trouble executing offensively in the final minutes of games.  In this case, it didn't help that Crawford had played the whole way due to Jehvon Clarke's ankle injury and may have been tired, but over the entire season, this has been an ongoing issue for a team with a number of close losses.

I don't mean to be critical of Crawford, because the team needed him to go the whole way and he is a warrior.  He always takes the shot at the end because I don't think there is anyone else to do it.  He had 21 points on 60% shooting, which is a good offensive night.  He did have 7 turnovers to go with 3 assists.  Calhoun also had 21 points on 60% shooting and a team high 4 rebounds.  Orr added 7 and Holmes 6.

BG is now 6-10, 4-10 in D1 games and 1-2 in the MAC.  And 0-6 in road games.  They will get another shot Saturday in Buffalo.

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