Thursday, January 16, 2014

Much needed victory for Falcon Men's Hoopsters...

BG really needed a win last night...on a 4 game losing streak and coming off a dreadful game on Sunday...and they got it.  It was a 10-point win against CMU, and yeah, that's a win you should get at home, but BG hadn't been getting games like that.  The schedule gets tougher...moving forward at 0-3 would have been a disaster.

BG played the kind of game they were playing in December, back in the better times.

First, I felt BG played very good defense.  BG mixed man and zone defenses, and were effective in both but especially the zone.  BG was running traps off the zone and even when CMU slipped the trap, BG provided help and everyone rotated back into place and CMU would have to reset the offense.  In particular, I thought Cam Black played a great game.  CMU's bigs play outside, so he was actually guarding the perimeter in man defense and I thought he did a great job.  He played very athletically and with agility.  Simons scored only 7 points and only got 5 shots off.

BG held CMU to .92 points per possession, which is well below their average.  The Chips shot 40% and 39%, which are slightly below average, but BG committed only 12 fouls and CMU turned the ball over on 25% of their possessions.

The second reason is the offensive attack.  When BG was going strong, they had Holmes and Parker both producing, and in this game, they got that and added Henderson as well.  Holmes had what is becoming a pretty normal game...20 points on 7 of 8 shooting, 10 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals and 4 blocks.  Guy is a very good player.

What helped the most was that Spencer Parker was back.  Parker had 12 points in the two MAC games to date, but came up with 20 on 7 of 11 shooting to go with 5 rebounds.  He also had 4 turnovers, which is something that is a problem.  He is in his first season as a regular, which is something that needs to be kept in mind.  He made 2 3FGs as well, something he has been really struggling with.

Anthony Henderson added 13 points as well.  He shot 4 of 10 and 2 of 7 from 3, and while those are not great numbers, they did provide some outside threat.  He got to the rim a couple of times, too.

Jehvon Clarke continues to struggle with his shot.  He was 3 of 12 shooting.  However, he did have 7 assists over 3 turnovers, which is his highest assist total since the Detroit game and his 2nd straight game with a A/T ratio of 2:1, after 3 straight when he had more turnovers than assists.

Observation:  when this team misses a jumper, it isn't close.

CMU was playing a 2-3 zone, which we know BG has struggled with.  From our preview we knew that Central was neither a great nor an awful defensive team, just a little below average.  The Falcons came up with 1.08 points per possession, tied for their 3rd best D1 performance this year.  They got 1.08 against Presbyterian, for example.

As a team, BG shot 49% overall and 33% from 3, the former number good and the latter number is at least an improvement.  Perhaps most importantly, BG took much better care of the ball, with only 12 turnovers against a CMU defense that employed a lot of pressure and traps.  Finally, BG made 73% of their free throws, which was sorely needed.  CMU won the battle of the boards on both ends, but that was the only place that BG did not get the better of the game.

In terms of game flow, the key part of the game, the end of the first half was really the key stretch.  BG was down 26-19 with about 5 minutes left and the whole thing had a pretty sour feel to it.  To their credit, BG rallied when it might have been easier not to, and BG scored 14 points in 5 minutes (after 35 in 40 Sunday) to lead by 5 at the half.  Parker had 5, Holmes 4, Henderson 3 and Clarke 2 on the run.

In the second half, BG had a little 6-0 run to stretch the lead to 10 and had a 14 point lead with about 14 to play.  The Chips got it back to 5 with about 9 minutes left, but Parker converted an old-school 3 point play to stem the tide.  CMU didn't get the lead inside 10 again until there were almost 2 minutes left in the game, but they never got the spread inside 7 and the Falcons made FTs and coasted home to a comfortable win.

Looking ahead on the schedule, we see right away why this was an important win.  BG plays 3 times in 7 games next week...@WMU Sunday, @OU Wednesday and then Miami on Saturday at the Stroh.  At default settings, BG goes 1-2 next week.  Anything could happen.

No comments :