Sunday, January 04, 2015

Falcons Shut Down Chicago State for 8th Win

BG did what it was supposed to do Saturday at the Stroh Center, taking an early lead and then cruising to an easy victory over an over-matched opponent, the Chicago State Cougars.  I'm sure the Falcons had the result of their last home game--the Ferris loss--prominent in their mind when they took the court.  After 5 minutes BG was up 5-4 and from there they went on a 34-10 run over the next 10 minutes to blow the game open.  The 2nd half was evenly played and the Cougars never got the score inside 20.

The final score was 58-35.  Obviously, 35 is a really low point fact, the last time that BG allowed an opponent to score that few was in 1980 against Dennison.  I don't know when the last time BG had a better performance against D1 opposition.   (Long-time Falcon fans might remember that Dennison game.  John Weinert was the BG Coach, and his former assistant, Mike Ehrenfried, was the Dennison coach.  Weinert was furious with Dennison for coming to BG and playing a slow down game.)

Chicago State followed a similar strategy to the one they used in their close game with Green Bay, which was to pack into a 2-3 zone and try to force outside shots.  The strategy worked.  The game was played at a snail's pace, with possessions in the low 50s--favoring BG--and the Falcons did shoot from the outside a lot.  BG had 49 FG attempts and 32 were from 3FG.  They were also effective, as BG made 11.  However, in the decisive first half, BG was 8 of 15 from beyond the arc.  Despite poor 2nd half shooting, BG ended up with 1.12 points per possession.

Chicago State was known to be offensively-challenged, and the Falcons took strong advantage of that.  The Cougars had only .67 points per possession and shot only 30% for the game and 24% in the first half.  When you see a shooting spread like the one below, you can be pretty much be sure who the winning team is going to be.  BG also took good care of the ball against some Cougar pressure and kept the Cougars off the line, though BG also did not shoot many FTs due to the fact they were in the lane so rarely.

Individually, Coach Jans used the opportunity to clear his bench.  No one played more than 25 minutes.  Anthony Henderson had a big game, with 14 points in 25 minutes on 4-9 3FG shooting.  Jehvon Clarke had 11 points on 3-5 3FG shooting.  Denny had 8 rebounds and Parker had 7, and BG's point guards had 12 assists over 1 TO.

So, that's the non-conference season.  BG went 8-3 and that's certainly something to be proud of.  The schedule might not have been the toughest, but BG is clearly improved over last season.  There are 3 road wins in there...that is important.  The MAC season is going to be very interesting.  We're going to get a tough test right out of the gate, starting Wednesday at Kent, OU on Saturday at the Stroh and then right back to NE Ohio to play Akron.  Tough way to start, but BG has a generally favorable schedule...on the other hand, notch 2 wins in the first 3 and we might be on to something interesting.

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