Tuesday, March 11, 2014

It always ends with a loss.

So, BG ended the season at NIU.  I just listened to Coach's presser.  It was instructive if you want to understand the man.  I'd recommend you listen to it.  As he says, nothing lasts forever, and if this part of his life is over, he believes another will emerge.  He was thankful to the players, the university, and the community--regardless of how they felt about him.

The loss itself was much like many this season and much like the first game between NIU and BG.  BG went down 10-2 and trailed by 10 with 2:50 left in the first half.  They closed on an 8-2 run and then had the game tied four minutes into the second half.  From there it was a very close affair with several lead changes down the stretch.

It was tied with 2 minutes left.  NIU got a hoop to go up 2.  Holmes missed a 3 and then fouled on the rebound.  Bowie missed the front end for NIU and this time Clarke missed the 3.  BG fouled again and Armistead split a pair of free throws to leave the Huskies up 3 with :25 left.

BG came down, ran offense and Holmes took a 3 with :06 left.  He missed, but Black tapped the rebound out to Clarke who drilled the game tying 3.

NIU had to inbound from their baseline and they tried for the big play for threw the ball right out the opposite baseline, giving BG the inbound under the basket.  No time outs, sadly, and BG tried a lob that didn't go in.

In OT, the odds were stacked against the Falcons.  They had played a very short bench and had to be dog tired.  They managed only one basket in the OT, and NIU only had 5 points.  With :15 left Threloff had 2 FT^s and a 2 point lead and the chance to close the door, but he split the pair and left it open but this time Clarke's shot did not fall and the Falcon's season ended.

It was a very low scoring game, just like the first contest, if not quite so bad.  With the OT it was a 69 possession game, which is equivalent to a 61 possession regulation game, which is slow.  BG had .74 points per possession and NIU had .78.  That's exactly the efficiency NIU got in the game at the Stroh Center, and BG's was "better"  even while being the 4th worst game of the season offensively.

The difference was turnovers.  BG had 22 turnovers in a 69 possession game, and you can't win like that.  It means giving a poor shooting team 32% fewer possessions.  NIU had 16 turnovers, which is poor, but less poor.  Neither team did much on the offensive boards, but that's a victory for BG since NIU rebounds well.  That kept BG in the game, as did NIU's sub 50% FT shooting.  BG shot only 55%.

Jehvon Clarke shot well...15 points on 6 of 12 shooting.  However, he was 2 of 5 from the line and had 2 assists over 7 turnovers.  Holmes had 10 points and 14 rebounds and Black had 10 points and 9 rebounds.  Collectively, they shot 8 of 23, however.  BG used only 23 bench minutes, and four of the starters played 40 minutes and Henderson played 37.

BG finishes as 12-20.  That is their first 20 loss season since Dakich went 9-21 in 06-07.  We will have more to sum up the season over time.  In general, they ended up more or less where I thought they would....but I expected them to have Orr and Sealey and Denny.  I give them credit.  They fought and battled, played a bunch of close games and while the results are not what anyone wanted, I'm proud of their resilience.

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