Thursday, February 27, 2014

Falcons Hold off Flashes, Win at Stroh

So, the Falcons picked up a win over Kent State last night.  The Kent program this year is not what it has been and they have the same record as BG this year in the MAC.  Even so, we are happy to have the win.  BG plays 3 very tough games going home and it is not inconceivable that was the last win of the season...and it kept BG marginally alive for a home berth...NIU and Miami both won and BG has to catch one of those teams while beating Kent.

The win symbolized what has been positive about this year's team.  No one is happy about where the program is, but our players have shown resilience in the face of obstacles--including the coach being a lame duck--that we would admire in any walk of life.  Again, the results are not what anyone wants, but I admire the character of the team.  Last night, that took the form of winning without Anthony Henderson, and the team deserves credit for that.

(Orr said after the game to The Blade that he hopes Henderson will play Saturday).

Anyway, much like the game at Kent, BG led most of the way.  In fact, with the exception of ties at 9 and 13, BG led the entire way.  Kent was never ahead.

BG led 31-26 at the half but had a nice run to start the half and the lead was 11 4 minutes in.  Kent drove the lead down to 3 with 5:30 left,  but BG responded with a 7-0 run to lead by 10 with 2:48 left.  In fact, BG was still leading by 10 with 1:25 left when the game turned into a white knuckler again.

First, Henninger split a pair of FTs but Kent got the board and cashed in, making it a 7 point lead. (1:21)

Parker split a pair of FTs and the Henninger cashed in off an O-REB and it was a 6-point lead (:52)

Jehvon Clarke split a pair and Manley responded with a 3FG and it was a 4-point game (:37)

Parker hit 2 free throws but BG gave up a ridiculously easy basket on the other end and it was still 4 points. (:37)

Parker split a pair of FTs and Kent got another easy basket and it was a 3-point game (:30)

Finally, BG stabilized the situation.  Clarke made 2 FTs and Kent was forced to work for a shot, which they missed and BG was up 5 (:21)

Clarke made 2 more FTs and it was over, 73-66.

Despite having Henderson out, BG scored effectively while playing good (if not up to their usual standards) defense.  BG scored 1.09 points per possession, which is their 4th best this year and 2nd best in MAC play.  They held Kent to .98, which is well below their average.

This advantage came despite the fact that BG had 15 turnovers and Kent only 8.  The key was shooting.  BG shot 47% overall and held Kent to 35%, and BG held Kent to 5 3FGs.  BG had a huge night on the offensive boards (best MAC effort this year) and had a good night at the line, shooting 68% (which is not great, but good enough in this case).

With Henderson out, there can be no doubt that Jehvon Clarke played the key role in the win.  He scored 21 points on 6 of 11 shooting and 8 of 9 from the line.  He had 8 rebounds, 5 assists and 3 steals...his line only hampered by 5 turnovers, but he was handling the ball a huge amount and played 38 minutes.

Holmes double-doubled at 12 and 10.  He shot 5 of 12 and added 4 blocked shots.  Spencer Parker had trouble getting shots, but he was 8-10 from the line on his was to 12 points and 6 rebounds.  Cam Black added 9 points (4 of 6 shooting), 6 rebounds and 5 blocked shots.

JD Tisdale started and provided solid minutes.  Damarkeo Lyshe had 8 key points in 19 minutes to help BG replace Henderson, and Craig Sealey played 18 minutes and while the line was not huge (6 rebounds), they would have been screwed without him.  Three Falcons finished with 4 fouls.

BG is now 12-16 and 6-9 and 9th in the MAC.  They head to Akron Saturday.  The Zips have lost 4 of 5 including a 16-point smacking by OU.  At the same time, Akron and Dambrot have owned, perhaps this is the time to turn a close game on the road into a win for BG.


Anonymous said...

What's wrong with Akron you think? They had it rolling earlier in the year with very balanced inside/outside scoring.

Orange said...

It is a good question. Nick Harney was out for 4 games and only returned last night, so that's a possibility. The Buffalo game was a total shoot out, but in the other 3 losses they have shot 38% or below (as low as 27% against OU) so it might just be a shooting slump.