Wednesday, December 10, 2014

MBB: You can learn a lot from a loss

Sometimes you can learn more with a loss than with a win.  I think that's probably true of last night's result in Dayton for the Falcons.

Dayton is a strong team, a defending Elite 8 team and the game was on their home floor.  Dayton is picked to contend for the title in the A-10 and would probably be favored to win the MAC--in fact, they have a solid lead with a 3-0 record!

But by playing with the Flyers for the whole 40 minutes and by leading much of the game and as late as with 3:39 left and remaining tied until 2:14 left, and even having the ball down 1 inside a minute left...we might have seen enough to think the BG is going to be competitive in the MAC this year.

Some of the other wins, it was hard to tell.  How good was the team we beat?  You know the drill...

But this performance (a 56-52 loss), on the road, gives me some hope.  Obviously, lots has to play out...maybe the team was jacked up to play Dayton...we all remember last year's OT performance against Xavier that didn't pan out to anything...but if BG can compete like that on the road in the MAC, some wins are going to come from it.

As I noted in the preview, Dayton's super-power is getting for the FT line, where they have had huge advantages over opponents this year. And that's what won them this game, too.  They were called for 13 fouls and BG for 20.  Dayton was 21 of 29 from the line, while BG was 2 of 6.  I doubt if very many teams will win this year while -19 at the line.

It isn't as bad as it sounds, because while Dayton was shooting FTs they had fewer FG attempts.  BG tried 16 more FGs than Dayton did and had a +15 (obviously) advantage on points from FG.  In fact, probably as big a factor as the FTs is that BG shot only 42% on 2FGs compared to Dayton's 52%.  Neither team shot well from the field...both were 37%, but BG shot 23.5% from 3FG and Dayton shot 6.7%, netting out with BG as a slight lead in shooting which should have been higher.

Rebounding and turnovers were also very close, so I think the game came down to BG doing less with its extra possessions than Dayton did with FTs.  Still, the stats show that possession for possession, BG was competitive with the Flyers.

Individually, it was a nice night for Zack Denny, who scored 16 on 7 of 12 shooting and 2 of 5 from 3FG.  He also had 6 rebounds and 3 steals.

Holmes had 9 points (4-11 shooting) and 11 rebounds, with 3 blocks before fouling out.

Jovon Austin had 5 assists in 21 minutes.  BG's guards shot 8 of 25, extending a problem that does stretch back into last year.  Parker and Holmes were a cumulative 6 of 20 as well.

BG did tighten the rotation quite a bit for this game, with only 8 players getting significant minutes.  Chauncey Orr did not play at all...I know he is battling an injury, don't know if that is what this is about.

Now 5-2, the Falcons off before taking on Cleveland State Saturday at the Stroh.  The Vikings are 4-4 with wins against some pretty soft teams.  Like to see the Falcons make it 2 strong games in a row and close them out on our floor.

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