Sunday, February 03, 2013

Falcons Get Much Needed Win Over Ball State

Bowling Green had its second largest crowd of the season yesterday to see Ball State play on a snowy Saturday afternoon and the Falcons grabbed a much needed win coming off the disheartening Akron loss on Wednesday.

It came behind evidence that there was some soul-searching done in the Falcon camp.  We mentioned that Coach Orr had said after the Akron game that our young players needed to be leaders, which is an unusual thing for him to say.  And you have Chauncey Orr saying BG got punched in the mouth and "retreated."

Then we find out that Jordon Crawford was not starting the game--after 45 consecutive games.

Coach Orr was asked about it after the game, and he was not too revealing (which is his habit and his right.)  He said that something that sounded like, "Jordon and I talked, yadda yadda yadda, we're on the same page," and then Jordon didn't start.

It seemed to help.  I felt like we ran our offense a lot more than we have in past games.  The ball was moving.  There was less dribbling.  There was some very nice passing in the paint to lead to easy baskets.  Fewer hopeless jumpers were launched.  More effective post-entry passes were completed.

BG also played a little bit of high post action.  They got the ball to a big up high and then let the guards go to work down low.  It seemed to work, at least as I saw it.

Crawford had the kind of game we have needed from him.  He scored 19 points, and did it on 8 of 15 shooting.  He only took 2 treys.  And he added 8 assists over 2 turnovers with 2 steals, including a huge one at the end of the first half to send BG into the locker room with a big momentum jolt.  It was a good day.

He wasn't the only senior to have a better day than he has been.  A'uston Calhoun also had a big game.  He had 17 points on 8 of 11 shooting...which is the zone where he starts to be a difference maker.  Kirk Cowan kept saying on the broadcast that when Calhoun gets the ball, he needs to use his quickness and not try to work his way to a post shot, which just allows time for double teams to develop.  He did seem to shoot quicker and attack the basket on Saturday.  He also led the team with six rebounds.

The Falcons got other contributions as well.  Chauncey Orr was in double figures for the third time in the last four games.  He scored 10...on 4-4 shooting.  I know a lot of Falcon fans were questioning Chauncey early in the year, but he is turning into a nice player as he gets some confidence.  Coach wants him to shoot more, but I do think you can see Orr developing.

Luke Kraus had four points on 1-4 shooting, but he had five assists, including a great pass in the key later in the game.  He made a huge 3 early in the game to get us started and Coach praised his leadership in the game.

James Erger had a nice game.  He scored a career high 9 points on 4 of 6 shooting and added 4 rebounds in 13 minutes.  Holmes had 6 points and 5 rebounds in 19 minutes after first half foul trouble.  And Coach praised Cam Black, who didn't get a lot of stats, but played very solid post defense for Bowling Green.

A lot of team contributions to the win.  I know, it was not over one of the top teams in the fact, it was over one of the poorer and at home.  It was still a nice effort for us.  I look forward to seeing how it rolls out as we play against the better teams.  I think we are capable of more than we have shown since the middle of December.

On a team basis, BG allowed only .91 points per possession, which is right where they have had to be to win this season.  BG is 7-1 when allowing .94 points per possession or less.  We are 1-12 when allowing more.  On the flip side, BG scored 1.08 points per possession, the 4th best offensive game of the year.  And so, bringing offense and defense on the same night brought a comfortable win.

BG shot 57% from the field and only 2 of 12 from beyond the arc.  That means that BG shot 70% on its 2 point FGS--and that is largely what has been lacking in our attack.  Ball State shot better than you would hope--46% overall and 44% from beyond the arc.  Nobody had any serious offensive rebounding and the turnovers were more or less even and FTs were exactly even for the game.

BG won the game with 2 point shooting--a +8 advantage in FGs made.

The Falcons are now 8-13 overall and 3-5 in the MAC.  Excluding Toledo, We are tied for 5th right now in the MAC with Kent, Miami, Buffalo and NIU.  As you know, the MAC tournament is a little bit different than normal because of UT's APR penalties.  There are only 11 teams.  So, two teams will get the byes to the semis and two will get byes to the quarters.  And, only this year, the 5th place team will get a bye through the first round.

Anyway, that's where things stand on the morning after a win the team needed really badly.  Next is @NIU--a tough team to pin down--and then a trip down to Athens.  I think we are seeing some signs that we are making modest improvements and I look forward to seeing if the team can continue to improve coming home.

One last thing.  Our guys did show resilience.  The losing seemed to take its toll Wednesday, but they bounced back out there, which is something I always admire.

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