Saturday, March 09, 2013

Senior Night Success like Penicillin

And so, the Falcons ended the regular season on a high note...beating a good Buffalo Bulls team that has been playing well.  It was an exciting game, well played, and a nice win for our guys.

It did not appear that it was gong to be that way early on.  BG came out in a man to man and Buffalo just shredded us.  McCrea had 10 points before the first media time out.  They just were never missing.  With 8 minutes left, they had 31 points, on pace to get 92 for the game.

BG switched to the 2-3 zone, and from there the whole thing turned around.  It hasn't always worked that way this year--because we don't use the 2-3 as much as we used to, I'm not sure we're as proficient in it--but we seemed to really bring it this time.  Buffalo had real problems getting good shots.  They did not torch us for 3s as other teams have and when the got the ball to McCrea at the elbow--supposedly where you want the ball in this zone--he didn't seem to know what to do with it.

Coach credited Cam Black for playing big defense on the inside as well.

BG was down 8 with 8 minutes left in the first half and 6 inside of 2 minutes, but they got a +1 from Anthony Henderson and two very late FTs from Spencer Parker and went into the locker room down only 3.

Starting the second half, BG had the game tied almost right away and had a lead with 16 minutes left. With 14:42 left, the game was tied at 42 and BG went on a 6-0 run to take a lead they would never relinquish.  From 9 minutes in, the game was never a one possession game.

Jordon Crawford made 2 huge threes in stretch time after struggling to shoot at the end of the Kent game.  With 3:46 left, BG's lead was down to 4, and Crawford nailed a 3 from the half court set and then nailed a pull up fast break 3 and those were pretty much daggers in the Bulls.  Both Coach Stone and Orr said that they had rested Crawford longer in the second half so he could be effective in the closing minutes, and it did seem to work.

Of course, putting him on the bench is the easy part...your other guys have to be able to play while he is out.  BG was up 7 when he went out and up 6 when he came back.

Offensively, it was BG's best game of the season.  They scored 1.22 points per possession, which is even better than they did against New Orleans.  We shot 49% from the field and 44% from 3FG, but only turned the ball over 9 times and made 14 of 19 FTs in a 62 possession game, and that's a very efficient offensive night.

On defense, we allowed 1.05 points per possession for the game, which is tied for our highest amount in a win this season with the Detroit win.  I don't have the numbers, but for 32 minutes of the game, BG played very good defense in the zone.  Buffalo finished shooting 49%, but was 6 of 17 from beyond the arc and only 11 of 17 at the line.  We established in the preview that Buffalo is the most turnover-prone team in the MAC, and they turned the ball over on 26% of their possessions a huge difference in the game.

BG's offensive success led to one of the great press conference moments in the Orr era, when he said that scoring points was like "penicillin" in that it "cures what ails you" but defense is the "substance."

This is perhaps the best quote ever.  Coach Orr, love you, and I know what you were trying to say, but before penicillin substance was getting its ass kicked.  People didn't live to be 40, they lived in constant fear of a bacterial infection, entire families were wiped out in a week.  Penicillin is one of the 10 greatest advances in human history if not the best.  This place was a WRECK before penicillin.

Maybe offense is the dessert, or it is the breading on the chicken, or its the frosting on the cupcake or its a hood ornament or maybe its just a sugar high...

On an individual basis, Jordon Crawford had a huge game.  He scored 26 points on 9 of 13 shooting, 3 of 4 from beyond the arc and 5 of 6 at the line to go with 4 steals, 4 assists and only 2 turnovers.  That's one hell of a productive night.

Calhoun had 15 points and 4 rebounds to go with 4 turnovers, but he struggled to shooting the ball.  It took him 18 shots to get those 15 points.  He was hot early and then the Bulls put some more attention on him.

The big offensive surprise was Cam Black, who complimented his strong defensive game with a very strong offensive game.  I have always felt he has the skills to contribute offensively but he just doesn't seem to do it consistently.  He has a nice, soft shot for a big man.  He had 13 points on 6 of 8 shooting and 6 rebounds.  Coach Stone said that Buffalo's normally physical big men were playing "soft" so BG adjusted the bal and attacked them inside.

If Cam Black can develop an offensive game, it would be huge for this team this year and next.

Chauncey Orr led the team with 7 rebounds.  Anthony Henderson came back from a prolonged slump with 7 points in 16 minutes and Richaun Holmes had 9 points and 2 blocks in 16 minutes.

Finally, the end was very interesting.  I try not to whine about the officials when we lose, but I am perfectly happy to do it when we win.  Those guys were awful.  BG would get a touch foul on one hand followed by a felony level mugging on the other end that would be a no-call.  They officials were futzing around with the clock or something with 10 seconds left in a 12 point game, just as they had at the end of the first half.

I'm on record as not being able to stand Reggie Witherspoon, dating back to the "Buzzer Banger" incident and then extending through 14 years of histrionics, head slapping, coat ripping off drama.  His teams underachieve for the players he gets.  Anyway, you get my point.

So, last night, the officials are futzing around and Witherspoon has been having his guys foul and is calling time even though the game is over.  Then, all of a sudden, Witherspoon walked down the sideline and shook Coach Orr's hand and walked back to the bench and told his players to just put the ball on the floor and end the game, which was a classy thing to do.

So perhaps I have misjudged him.

So, BG finishes the regular season at 13-18 and 7-9 in the MAC.  We will find out this afternoon what happens next as it relates to the MAC tourney...I will have the permutations up in an hour or so. It hasn't always been a great season--especially on the road--but our guys brought a really nice effort last night and I was proud of them.

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