Sunday, December 08, 2013

Lest We Forget...Men's Basketball

So, in all the football excitement, we need to take a second to talk about a very interesting men's basketball game yesterday.

First, the game was on FoxSports1, an experience in ear-torture that was matched only by whoever was doing color for the OSU game last night...also on FOX.  Oww.  Really guys.  It isn't as easy as it looks but it isn't as difficult as you are making it look.  I'd love to listen to the Voice of the Falcons, but I can never get the audio to sync up with the video.

Anyway, BG played Xavier really tough.  I know this is not the greatest XU team in memory, but they're still Xavier and the game was still on their court.  Combined with the WKU game, I think BG is playing pretty well right now and is exceeding the expectations we had, even with Chauncey Orr now lost for the season.

It was a game BG probably should have won, in fact.

The first half was closely played.  BG was down 7 with 4 minutes left but then closed out on an 11-0 run to lead by 4 at the break.

The 2nd half was pretty closely played, but XU was inching their lead out to 5 and then lead by 11 with just under 6 minutes left to go.

Just as they did in the first half--and just as they typically have not--BG rallied again.  On consecutive possessions, Henderson had an old-school 3, Parker a put back and Clark a 3FG and in 1:20 or so, BG had the lead back to 3.  Another minute after that Richaun Holmes had a dunk-and-one and the game was tied.

BG was down one with about 1:30 left to go and got the stop they needed on a Stanbrook missed layup.  On the other end, Holmes scored again and BG had a 1 point lead.  BG got another stop on a Holmes block and had the ball, the lead, and :45 to play.

BG worked clock and with :15 Clarke missed a shot in the paint.  However BG got the offensive rebound...still up 1.  XU now had to foul and fouled Henderson.  He split the pair, leaving BG only up 2.  Semoj Christon dtew a foul on Parker (fouling him out) and the guy who has struggled at the line this year nailed them both to tie the game.

BG had one more shot but missed a desperation 3.

Overtime was not kind, as XU went 17-5.  BG was short-handed to start with, and Parker had fouled out and Sealey (according to the Cincy paper) had sprained his ankle and BG was gassed.

The free throws in regulation were the tragedy.  BG played a good team very tough on the road...and really might have been 1 FT short of the upset.

The game stats are distorted by the overtime.  You can see them below.  I don't know what they would have looked like at the end of regulation, but I'm suspecting they are more favorable to the Falcons.

The biggest issue was FT shooting.  With the current NCAA foul blitz (there were 48 fouls called in the game--with overtime, remember) and 64 FTs attempted.  Xavier, which had been a dreadful FT shooting team, made 23 out of 33.  BG, which has been not much better, shot 18 of 31 (58%).  This is the wrong time in college basketball to struggle at the line.

Richaun Holmes had a great game for BG.  He had a career-high 26 on 9 of 15 shooting, 9 rebounds and 5 blocked shots.  He played 39 minutes, which could also be a career-high.  Either way, he had a great night.  Parker was in foul trouble and had an off night, but Holmes and Parker give BG a couple weapons on offense and the success BG has had this year has mostly been due to that.

Henderson and Clarke both had 13 points, but possession-costly scoring.  Clarke was 5 of 17 from the field and 2 of 7 from 3, while Henderson was 4 of 11 and 1 of 6.  Clarke had 5 assists over 3 turnovers and Henderson also had 3 turnovers.

As mentioned, Craig Sealey, who is still rehabbing from surgery, had a sprained ankle.  No idea on a prognosis, but it puts BG in a real bind.  Basically, you have Holmes, Parker, Henderson, Black and Clarke with Tisdale off the bench and that is it for now if Sealey is down and the refs are calling fouls like crazy.

Anyway, BG is playing better than anticipated and should have won this game.  Injuries and depth are going to be challenges, though.

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