Thursday, February 06, 2014

Fouls and Free Throws Doom Falcons

I have said this before.  You have to give our guys credit.  They are not a great basketball team and they are short-handed but they are not quitters.

BG went down 11-0 to what is probably the top team in the MAC in their arena with a big crowd that was rocking.  Just inside of 10 minutes, it was 26-10 and with 2 minutes left in the half UT was up 41-27.  BG scored the last 5 points to bring it to 9 at the half.

And then Falcons more or less brought it all the way back.  In less than 5 minutes, the deficit was down to 2.  With 11:30 left it was 1 and BG was only down 2 with 3:16 left.  From there, UT did what they do, scoring 12 points and allowing 7 in the stretch run to put the game away with a 83-76 final.

BG started short-handed and then had ridiculous foul trouble that stretched things even further and yet the game was still very much in doubt with 3 minutes left and this on the road with an opponent that hasn't lost at home and has only lost 3 times overall.  Richaun Holmes had 2 quick fouls are barely played at all in the first half.

There's no doubt.  At 26-10, this could easily have gone the other way and it didn't.  No, BG didn't win and no, there are no moral victories...but they deserve credit for their performance last night.  It took a lot of guts and we should be proud of that.

In fact, the difference was free throws...and 3FGs and offensive rebounds, to a lesser extent.  BG held UT to 37% FG shooting, which is 10% below their average.  If anything kept BG in the game, that was it.  Now, UT made 8 3FGs (40%) and got 41% of the available offensive rebounds, which is even higher than their MAC leading norm.

Even with all that, it was still a game.  However, BG was whistled for 24 fouls and UT for 11.  Yes, you read that right.  BG was fouling at the end, but that wasn't the issue.  BG just committed a ton of fouls.  Now, maybe that's how they kept the shooting percentage for UT tend to foul when you are out of position, so maybe a foul is a similar outcome as a made shot.

It was widespread.  Tisdale fouled out and five other BG players finished with 3 or more fouls.  It is a borderline miracle that BG did not have a worse problem with DQs.

The problem was that UT was great at the line.  UT was 29 of 35 shooting FTs...and BG was 7 of 8.  That was the difference in the game.

All those FTs gave UT an offensive efficiency of 1.19 points per possession, just a hair over their season average and the 3rd best game against BG this season.  BG had 1.09 points per possession, which is their fourth best D1 game of the year and their best offensive game in a defeat.  In my preview, I said that BG needed to hold UT to 70 to have a shot to win, and I was not far off.

BG shot the ball well and limited turnovers and had a better than average game on the offensive just came down to FTs.

BG got very strong guard play.  I think most teams are guarding BG by trying to control Holmes, and the guards simply must produce for BG to win.  Anthony Henderson had an incredible night...23 points on 9 of 16 shooting and 4 of 7 from 3FG...with 7 rebounds, six assists, 2 steals and only 1 turnover.

Jehvon Clarke also had 23 points, but was less efficient, shooting 9 of 21 and 1 of 7.  He also had 7 rebounds to go with 8 assists over 2 turnovers.

Spencer Parker had 16 points and 7 rebounds, though he shot 43%.  Cam Black had 10 rebounds.  UT did keep Holmes under wraps...6 points and 4 rebounds.

Anyway, certainly would have been sweet to come all the way back and pull this one off, but I am proud of our guys for the fight they showed.

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