Thursday, December 12, 2013

Men's Basketball Gets Short-Handed Home win...

So, BG beat North Dakota last night.  I don't suspect North Dakota is very good...on the other hand they are picked to win their conference and could end up in the NCAA tourney.  Even having said that, it was a nice win for the Falcons and they did beat us last year.

BG was playing very short-handed, essentially with 6 players.  That would be difficult enough normally, but only becomes more difficult when the refs are in their foul-calling mode.  BG simply had to avoid foul trouble.

In fact, I'm feeling pretty good about my four keys to the game.

  1. Score (Check, 79 points, 1.1 per possession)
  2. Make free throws (Shot 74%)
  3. Stay out of foul trouble. (Only 14 fouls for the game)
  4. Control the tempo. (Not so much, 72 possessions)

Anyway, BG continues to be better than I would have expected at full strength and a click better than that given the injuries.

There are two keys to that.

The first is Richaun Holmes.  We thought he had the ability to be really good last year and he was here and there.  He is here now.  He has been a beast for the last 3 games.  Last night, he had 21 very efficient points (7 of 10 shooting and 7 of 8 at the line) to go with 14 rebounds, 4 assists and 7 blocks (ties school record).  Yeah, I know.  He was dominant in the could see a guy come to take him on and he just hung back and waited, confident that the ball was not getting past time.  He only had 2 fouls.  Monster, monster game for Holmes.

The second is his classmate Spencer Parker.  He had 19 points on 5 of 9 shooting and 9 of 10 at the line (again, very efficient) to go with 8 rebounds.  Parker is BG's breakout player right now.  He does something we have not seen in a long time from a Falcon....he attacks the basket.  And with his size and length, it presents a match up issue.  (When Parker brings his turnovers down--he had 5--he will become even more effective, but we don't want to compromise his attacking psychology).

Those guys came in together last year.  So, when you want to trash the current coach, keep the big picture in mind...he brought those guys in.

The successful inside play has made Cam Black better, too.  He had 13 points on 6-6 shooting, 7 rebounds and 4 blocks of his own.  Other times, a guy would be driving to the hoop, Black would step out and you'd hear "beep beep beep" as the guy backed up again.

Guard play has been a little more of a struggle.  Jehvon Clarke was 4 of 7 shooting, which is good based on both accuracy and a lower frequency.  Henderson was 3 of 10 shooting with 4 turnovers.

JD Tisdale is not necessarily generating any numbers, but I think he has improved even since the year started.  He's playing more than they anticipated, I am sure, but he was pretty steady last night against pressure.  I look forward to seeing him continue to build his game.

As a team, we had noted that UND was porous on defense.  BG needed to take advantage of that and they did.  BG had a bad night with turnovers with 21.  That's a lot, even considering the game was up tempo.  However, UND had 18 and BG outshot the no-names by a lot.  BG shot 55% from the field with a solid edge in effective FG%, but had an incredible night on the boards, getting 49% of the available offensive rebounds.  That's the best since the Toledo and Kent games in 11-12.

Finally, BG had a great night at the line.  BG shot 31 free throws and made 23.  Meanwhile, UND was 6 of 10.  You start at +17 at the line and I suspect you are not going to lose very many games.

Odd note.  BG scored 49 points in the second half without making a 3.

I know it was at home and we play well at home, even in our darker days.  I was pretty pessimistic heading into the season, and there is still a long way to go, but the team is better than I expected and has a shot to be competitive in MAC play.  BG goes on the road Sunday to play a 7-4 Morehead State team that lost to Xavier by 23 and Gardner-Webb.  On the road is tough, but this is one you'd like to pick up.

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