Sunday, February 23, 2014

Falcons shorter-handed, lose again

On January 22, BG left OU having beaten the Bobcats at the Convo.  Things looked as good as anyone would have had a reason to suspect they could look for this team.

One month and one day later, BG has played 9 games and won 2.  Four of the losses were by 3 or less and three--as you know by now--came on buzzer beaters.

The game today in Oxford was one that was winnable for BG, but instead it ended up being another defeat.  BG's job was made harder by a practice injury to Anthony Henderson, one of only 6 BG players who gets significant minutes.  He started and played only 21 minutes...the Falcons have enough problems.  They don't need to play without Henderson.

Even so, it was a competitive game coming down the stretch.  When Holmes scored with 1:47 left to cut the lead to 1, BG had trailed for around 36 consecutive minutes, some of it with a deficit over 10.  Miami ran shot clock but missed a 3 and BG had the stop they needed.  Coach Orr used a full time out...BG is almost always poor at getting a good shot out of a timeout and this was no exception.  BG ended up with a tough shot by Clarke which did not go in.

BG fouled (bringing in Shaun Joplin as a designated fouler and then pulling him out) and Miami made 1 of 2.  There were :29 left, BG was working off a :20 timeout and still ended up with Clarke 3 (with :06) left and it did not go in and Miami had one more free throw and a 3-point win.  You had to go for 3...BG was short-handed and in bad foul trouble.  Chances of winning in OT were very slim.

BG falls to 5-8 in the MAC, one game behind Miami, but without the tie breaker, so it is actually 2 games.  Same with NIU.  BG still plays Kent, but right now the chances of a home berth in the playoffs are on the long side.

I wasn't there, but it can't have been a great day for MAC basketball.  It was a defensive low-scoring game played by 2 under .500 teams in front of an announced crowd of 975.

It was a slow-paced game, with only 64 possessions.  Neither team generated any offensive efficiency.  Miami scored .86 points per possession and BG scored .81 points per possession.  As I noted in the preview, Miami has a poor defense, so the hope was that BG might do some scoring.  That did not materialize.

The whole game comes down to BG being poorer at putting the ball into the basket, no matter what form the shot took.  BG shot 39.7% from the field, 15% from 3FG and 36% from the line.  Miami wasn't much better--40% and 29%--and they were unusually bad at the line, shooting 55% but that was still enough to get them a +7 at the line.

As you can see below, turnovers were pretty close and BG was much better on the offensive boards.  Poor shooting, especially at the line, brought BG down.

Individually, only Spencer Parker had a good game for BG on the offensive end.  He had 18 points on 8 of 11 shooting and 2 of 3 from the line.  He also had 7 rebounds, though 4 turnovers.  Cam Black had 8 points and 10 rebounds.  Beyond that, Clarke (3 of 10), Holmes (4 of 14) and Henderson (2 of 8) all had trouble scoring the ball.  Holmes also had 3 turnovers.

So, that's how the story ended.  BG is now 11-16 and cannot finish .500 overall without a MAC tournament run.  Certainly, this was another game BG had a shot to win, even if it wasn't decided right at the buzzer.  We'll see if BG can rally on Wednesday in front of the home crowd against Kent, which provided one of those buzzer-defeats.

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