Thursday, January 09, 2014

EMU Packs Paint, Beats BG

This is who I feared we were.

The EMU Eagles had a foolproof game plan for beating BG.  Put five guys in the paint and dare the BG shooters to let fly.

It worked.  BG shot 31% for all shots and 19% from 3FG...and turned the ball over on 23% of its offensive possessions and then shot 57% from the FT line.  That's ugly.  It equals out to 51 points and .74 points per possession.  That is the second worst for the season (St. Louis), but here is the key thing...BG has been under .78 points per possession in each of the last 3 games.

It is ugly and you aren't going to play good enough defense to overcome that.  The best defensive team in the country allows .81 per game.  In fact, that's exactly what BG held EMU to, but it wasn't enough to win.

In fact, EMU shot 35% and 14%, only marginally better than BG.  The difference was that they tried 9 fewer 3FGs, had 4 fewer turnovers and made 70% of their free throws for a +5 at the line.

Only Richaun Holmes shot the ball well.  He had 17 points on 5 of 10 shooting to go with 7 rebounds.  He did struggle at the line (57%), but he was really our only effective offensive player.

BG's guards were 7 of 28.  Jehvon Clarke was 4 of 18 on his own with 5 turnovers.  He was 2-9 from 3.  On top of that, Spencer Parker was 3 of 9 and Cam Black was 1 of 5.  JD Tisdale took only 1 FG attempt and had 4 fouls and 3 turnovers in 18 minutes.

The problem is that the shooting woes for the guards is nothing new.  When BG was getting results, it was from Black and Parker getting to the basket.  Teams seem to be taking that away, and it has exposed us on the offensive end.

That's a 3-game losing streak, with 2 of them coming at home.  Not to put too fine a point on it, but in the next 7 days BG will play NIU and CMU at the Stroh...this is the soft part of the schedule.  If this doesn't get figured out quickly, there's going to be a huge hole.

The good news (or the promising news) is that BG is playing very good defense.  Leading the MAC in defensive efficiency, in fact.  So, the offense doesn't have to get very much better to help.  The worrisome thing is that teams have to have seen this and it will be copied.  In conference play, the grind is the grind.  No one has time to do anything but win the next game, and until BG beats this strategy, I think you will see it continue.

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