Sunday, February 24, 2013

Mastodons Go Pleistocene on BG

It was not a great night for the Falcons in Fort Wayne.  In short, you had a team light the Falcons up for an incredible shooting night, you had your star power forward benched for the second half and then you had your normally implacable coach outwardly frustrated when he was interviewed after the game.

Two of those things don't have to be bad, but for last night, all was not well in the land.

IPFW shot 60% from the field and 67% from beyond the arc.  That totals out to a 71.2% effective field goal percent (give 1.5x credit for 3s) which is the worst for BG this year.  The next worse, in some kind of cruel irony, was IUPUI.  It is the worst FG% defensive performance for BG since the GW game last year.  It was the 90th worst FG% defensive performance in D1 this year, and that doesn't sound like much, but you might want to think about how many games have been played by the 345 teams in D1 and you get an idea where that stands.

Coach had a very direct explanation.  "We didn't guard."

He was asked whether it was a case of IPFW just being hot, and he said, yeah, you gotta make a shot, even a wide open one, but on defense "you have to make people miss."  And, obviously there was not much of that going on.

He was agitated.  Short clipped sentences, clear passion in his voice.  I know a lot of fans think he is too placid.  I believe that is an exterior view.  I think he's a pretty tough competitor.  He might not be having the success anyone (including him) wants to see, but I don't think he's placid or passive.

To wit:  the other news from last night was that he sat A'uston Calhoun for the entire second half.  Coach Hopson was asked about it on the radio, and he said that BG had identified on film that the guy guarding Calhoun couldn't guard on the perimeter, and therefore the game plan was for us to attack him by going to the basket.  You don't have to feed Calhoun in the post, you can get him the ball in makes sense.  Instead, Calhoun settled for jumpers and didn't play in the second half.

BG went very young in the second half, and things were a lot better.  Granted, the game was not close, but BG scored 49 points in the second half without Calhoun seeing one second of play.  They played inside out, got shots, made shots, etc.

As far as the game flow, it just wasn't really close for very long. It was 9-6 with 14:19 left, but three minutes later IPFW was up 13 and then with 5 minutes left in the half they were up 22.  It was 17 at the half, back up in the 20s in the early second, and then BG poked it 9 but no closer in the final minutes.  There were a couple of moments where BG had a shot down 9 to cut the lead a little closer, but they didn't get the hoops they needed.  As Todd Walker pointed out, there is almost no margin for error at that point.

Statistically, it was a fast game, with 74 possessions.  IPFW scored 1.19 points per possession, which is a losing proposition for our team, which has only won once over .93 points per possession.  BG had a good offensive game by its measure, with 1.01 points per possession and with a solid defensive effort scored plenty well enough to win.

BG made too many turnovers--but so did IPFW--and BG had a good night on the offensive boards and IPFW got a lot of free throw attempts but did a lousy job making them.  Shooting is the one stat that decided the game.

Individually, BG got a good second half out of Jordon Crawford (10 points, 4 of 7 shooting), Chauncey Orr (10 points, 4 of 5 shooting), Spencer Parker (9 points on 3 of 6 shooting to go with 5 rebounds) and Richaun Holmes (8 points on 4 of 5 shooting).

Frank Gaines, who became IPFW's leading career scorer during the game, torched BG for 26.

So, what happens next?  BG still can get a bye in the MAC tourney, salvaging at least something out of a disappointing season.  The question is what the reaction to all the discomfort last night will be.  Will it be to come out in a must-win game against Miami and give a strong performance?  Or, will the frustrations mount?

BG is 11-16 and 9-16 in D1.

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