Sunday, December 29, 2013

BG loses throwback tussle

Scene from today's BG-Wright State game as Dr. Naismith
Returned to the earth to deliver a peach basket

Ouch.  For a bunch of reasons.  Ouch because BG had its second worst offensive game of the year not due to shooting but due to 21 turnovers on only 58 possessions and 50% FT shooting.  Ouch because Wright State was not a lot better.  And ouch because after all that, BG had a possession with less than 15 seconds and a 2 point deficit and it ended, of course, in a turnover and then Holmes had a 3 at the buzzer that would not fall either.

So ouch.  It was probably the first time I have been disappointed in BG's performance since the South Florida game...maybe Oral Roberts, but that's a pretty good team.  Anyway, this one was winnable and instead college basketball was reset to peach baskets.

I certainly give our guys credit for fortitude.  Playing a depth-oriented team with six players (Sealey did not play once again), BG was down 7 at the half and 14 points with 11 minutes left in the game and it would have been easy for BG to say "it isn't our night." but they did battle back.  With 8 minutes left BG was down 11 and went on a 12-5 run to get the game to 4 with 4:30.

It was still a game coming home.

Much of this rally was on the back of Richaun Holmes who simply fantastic down the stretch.  He's a special player and getting better.

With about 2 minutes left, BG was down 6 and Holmes converted an old-school 3 to bring the lead to 3.  On the next possession BG got a stop and then Holmes was fouled on the other end.  Holmes split the pair--he is shooting FTs well this year--and it was a 2-point lead.

BG got another stop and had a chance to tie the game.  They ran some offense, but Clarke drove himself into trouble and the Raiders slapped the ball away.  BG foul, Wright State hits 1 of 2 and then Holmes missed the 3 to end the game.


Anyway, BG scored .74 points per possession, which is their second worst of the season, which is fine except the best was against St. Louis, which is a pretty good team.  BG's defense was effective, allowing .79 points per possession (2nd best D1 this year after Presbyterian) and it is usually a winning number.

There is no mystery how BG ended up at .74 points per possession.  More than one-third (36%) of BG's possessions were turnovers, meaning there was no chance of getting a basket at all.  BG shot 44% and 20% when it did get a shot off, which is passable if you had more shots.  They had an average night on the offensive boards and only converted 50% of its FTs, and that's the anatomy of how it happens.

On defense, Wright State had almost as much trouble but got there by taking care of the ball but shooting poorly.  They were slightly better than BG at the line (59%) and that ended up being the difference in a game with a close finish.

Individually, Richaun Holmes had a really nice night, as mentioned.  He scored 15 points (5 of 10 shooting, 5 of 7 at the line), 10 rebounds, and 3 steals.  He did have 4 turnovers.

Spencer Parker had 11 points (5 of 11 shooting) and 3 turnovers.

BG has struggled with efficient guard play and it was no different against the Raiders.  Clarke was 3-9 shooting with 4 assists and 6 turnovers.  Henderson shot 2-6 (and seemingly missed badly) though he did have 9 rebounds, and Tisdale had 1 assist and 5 turnovers in 17 minutes.

When you only play 6 guys and three of them are that inefficient, it just makes it really difficult for the team to win.

So BG falls to 6-6.  The next 4 games are at home and it would have been great to enter that with this win, but it was not to be.  Looking forward, BG needs to take advantage of these 4 home games, 3 of which are in MAC play.

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