Sunday, December 15, 2013

Falcons Pick Up Road Win, Defeat Morehead

February 6, if you are curious.

That was how long it took BG to pick up its first (and only) road win last year.  This year, it came today, December 15.  It is BG's first non-conference road win since December of 2011, when BG defeated FIU in Miami.

That's something.  I have said this before...I think this team is better than I expected, and even by those low standards, it is something to be pleased about.

Based on the descriptions provided by Todd Walker, much of it was pretty ugly.  Which is long as it is an ugly win.

Here's an halftime, BG had given up 14 turnovers and had committed 12 fouls.  Those are not far off the totals you would expect for an entire game.  With 3 minutes left, MSU was up 35-26, but BG finished the half with a minor +5 run to get the lead to 4, and things were actually in far better shape than BG probably deserved.

BG made two baskets in the first minute and the game was tied.  From there, it bounced back and forth for while, with BG finally taking the lead with about 11 left.  On another modest run, BG took an 8-2 run and lead by 6 with 7 left.  They would, in fact, not trail again, though that was far from the end of the story.

MSU pushed it to 2 a couple times--once answered by an Anthony Henderson trey and once on 2 Richaun Holmes FTs.  Finally, up 2, Holmes hit a jumper to put BG up 4,

On a key possession, MSU missed a 3, got the board and were fouled.  They missed both FTs and then got the rebound again, and Spencer Parker blocked a shot and BG came down and missed but also got the offensive board and then Holmes was fouled and hit both FTs, putting BG up 6 with :52 to play

The drama was not quite over.  Parker missed the front end of a 1-1 and MSU drained a 3 and the deficit was 3 points.  From there, Holmes made 3 out of 4 FTs in the final seconds and the Falcons had the road win.

The game is a tribute to the virtue of being able to make baskets.  Remember, Dr. Naismith had the idea that the object of the game was to put the ball into the peach basket.  Below are the 4 factors, remembering that they move from left to right in order of importance.

See that ridiculous offensive rebounding number?  I cued you to that in the preview...they are really good on the offensive boards.  They had 24 offensive rebounds (46% of the available shots) which resulted in the Eagles taking 25 more shots than BG did...and making one FG less than BG.

BG 23-47.  MSU 22-72.  Wow.

So, BG overcome a poor night with turnovers (and poorer than MSU) and a disasterous rebounding performance to win with FG shooting and FT shooting.  BG had a decent night at the line, shooting nearly 70% and holding a +5 FT advantage.

It is both good shooting and defense.  BG shot 48.9% from the field overall, which is pretty good in any book.  Granted, it was a 2-rich shot selection, as BG attempted only 8 3s...making 5 of them however.

On the other side, MSU shot 31% and 24%, lousy in anyone's book.

You can overestimate the importance of blocking shots.  BG blocked 14 of them...Holmes with 7, Black with 5 and Parker with 2.That ties Holmes' career high and sets one for Black.  I'm usually not a huge fan of blocked shots--I think they are big dramatic plays but a lot of the time the ball just goes out of bounds or gets made anyway.  What you can't estimate is the intimidation value.  Obviously, something worked and BG kept the ball out of the peach basket.

BG played both man and zone.  They spent more time in zone because Coach said he was afraid of foul trouble, but BG's man to man defense was good early in the 2nd half as well.

BG is playing short-handed.  Orr is out for the season and Sealey did not play either.  Richaun Holmes is just having a great stretch...17 points....4 of 10 shooting, which is not great, but he was 8-11 from the line, with 5 boards and 7 blocks.  Spencer Parker had 12 points (5 of 7 shooting) and 6 rebounds.  He continues to struggle with turnovers, but as the coaches work that out, he is a very solid MAC player.

Cam Black had 11 points on 5 of 8 shooting, 12 rebounds and 5 blocks, and held the Eagle big man (Posthumous) to 1-9 shooting.  Boom.

BG's guard play was less effective.  Collectively, Henderson and Clarke shot 8 of 19 but were 4 of 5 from 3.  Henderson finished with 11 and Clarke with 12.  Clarke had 3 assists and 3 turnovers.

So again, for much of the time an ugly effort, but BG worked their way through it and ended up with a road win.  BG is now 5-5 (4-5 in D1) and, as mentioned, is probably better than expected.  That's coming from the front line.  Holmes is playing great, and doesn't seem to get shut down like Calhoun.  Add to that the emergence of Black and Parker, and that's how it is happening.

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