Friday, January 03, 2014

IPFW Road Leads to Ruin Again

Throughout December I was saying that BG was ahead of where I thought they would be.   They were winning games against decent teams--at least at home--and I thought they had an outside shot to get to .500 in the MAC this year.

The last two games have presented a team that is pretty much what we figured they would be.  Losing to Wright State was one least it was on the road...but when you get beaten like that on your own floor by a team like IPFW, it is very worrying.  They would not be a strong MAC team.  If this team shows up in the MAC season, 4 or 5 wins is within reach.

It is 100% true that this team is short-handed.  You've played the whole season without Chauncey Orr, who is a solid player and could certainly contribute on this team.  According to Jack Carle, Sealey will miss another week and that would make a huge difference, not because he's a game changing player but just for the support it would give us up front.  (Not sure that sounded how I meant).  Finally, Zach Denny has not played at all and while he is now practicing with the team, it is not clear when he might enter a game.

I remember Dakich had a team with this problem...short was tough to keep things going night in and night out.  Nobody can have a bad day when you are rotating 6 guys and one of them is a freshman.

Anyway.  This was a night out.

First, you have (from all reports) a deadly atmosphere in the building.  The weather was awful.  Anyway.

The first half was just a slow process of the Mastadons pulling away...with 8 minutes left BG was down 8 and then with 4 minutes left that was 14.  It peaked at 17 before BG winnowed it to 13 at the half.

BG did battle back and had the lead down to 5 about 6 minutes into the half.  Just inside 11 minutes BG got the lead to 1 point and got a couple stops but could not convert on the offensive end and IPFW popped the lead back to 5.  That kind of felt like a not good thing, and I don't believe there was another situation where BG had the ball in a one-possession game the rest of the way.  Certainly, BG had a number of opportunities with 3 and 2 point deficits to get a stop but normally the 'Dons got the ball to Flat Tax Forbes and he converted.

IPFW missed a bunch of free throws that could have put BG away, but the Falcons were unable to take advantage and lost 65-60.

IPFW certainly did not have a great game on offense.  They scored only .84 points per possession in an 77 possession game (which is a lot).  BG was just worse, at .77.  It was BG's third worst offensive game of the season, just slightly better than the offensive performance against Wright State.  Based on Todd Walker's call, BG's second half surge came against man defense and the cool-down came against the zone...with no outside shooters, you would expect BG to struggle against the zone, which does not bode well for the EMU game.

Neither team shot very well overall...BG at 40% and IPFW at 39%.  The difference is that IPFW was 7 of 21 from 3FG, which is not great, but it is better than the 2 for 15 the Falcons mustered.  Neither team did any offensive rebounding to speak of, and BG had marginally worse in the area of turnovers.  IPFW got to the line 36 times for the game.  They shot only 50%, which kept BG in the game.  BG shot well (14 of 19), but with about half as many attempts it still yielded a -4 for in the FT category.

Individually, Richaun Holmes continues to play well for BG.  He had 16 points on 5 of 7 shooting to go with 9 rebounds and 2 blocks.  Also, he made both of BG's 3FGs.

Spencer Parker had 15 points on 5 of 10 shooting, which is good.  He also had 6 rebounds.  His effectiveness is hampered by shooting 3s (he missed 2) and 6 turnovers.

Cam Black struggled to shoot (1-5) but did have 11 rebounds.

Guard play for BG was pretty soft.  Jehvon Clarke had 16 points, but it took him 18 shots to get there, a bagel for 6 from beyond the arc, and 4 assists over 6 turnovers.  Anthony Henderson was 1-10/0-3 shooting.  He did have 6 rebounds and 5 steals.  And fouled out.

Todd Walker made the point during the radio broadcast that this is not how you want to enter conference play.  He's right.  Win these two winnable games, and you're looking at the world completely differently.  Lose them and you're just limping in.

Hopefully, BG will get some bodies back and that will help and hopefully things will straighten around for the MAC season.  Right now, it is looking like a tough slog.
Lastly, we gotta stop playing these guys.  There was the Ron Lewis game where he was fouled on a last second 3, causing Dakich to go ballistic post-game and get a letter from the MAC office...and then a debacle last year and an ugly performance this year.  No more Mastodons.

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