Sunday, January 18, 2015

With Big Second Half, Falcon MBB Notches 3rd MAC Win...

At halftime it was not looking so good.  An improving Ball State team headed into the locker room up 4 on the BG Falcons.  BG was shooting 31%, 1-9 from beyond the arc...and while defending the shot well had allowed Ball State 5 of 12 from 3FG.  BG had 7 turnovers to 4 for Ball State...and to hear the players and Coach Jans talk in The Blade this morning, the Falcons knew they were not playing with the intensity required for conference ball.

Much as they did against Cleveland State, the Falcons came out of the locker room and had certainly fixed the passion issue.  BG scored the first 6 points of the half (in 90 seconds) to take the lead and Ball State never had the lead again.  The game was tied at 33 with 14:25 left and BG went on a game-deciding 10-0 run, which included a Holmes old-school 3 point play and a Denny longball.  That came with about 11 left and about a minute later BG punched it up to 11 and it was never again inside 10 points and the Falcons cruised to the win.

BG did it with some sick 2nd half defense.  Ball State was held to 29% and 18% shooting with 10 turnovers.  BG had a very good half with 1.2 points per possession, partly thanks to 11 second half FTS...but they held Ball State to .58 points per possession which represents complete domination.  Ball State turned the ball over on 30% of its 2nd half possessions and when they DID get a shot off...well, we already covered that.

What is interesting is that Richaun Holmes scored 9 points, had 4 rebounds and 2 11 minutes.  That's pretty impressive.  Holmes did not get in much once the BG had blown the lead open.  In contrast, Zach Denny had 10 points and 5 rebounds, but he never left the floor in the 2nd half.

Here's how it looks for the 2nd half.

For the game, the key difference was free throws.  Ball State had a 41-39 advantage on field goals.  However, they got to the line 13 times and had a really rough night, making only 5.  Meanwhile, BG got 26 free throws and had a good night, making 19 (73%).  So, +14 at the line and that's the difference between winning and losing in some other numbers that are pretty close.

On an individual basis, Zach Denny had a double-double, with 17 points on 5 of 9/2 of 5 shooting to go with 10 rebounds.  He played 39 minutes.  We already talked about Holmes in the second half, but he had a pretty soft first half and finished with 11 and 7 on 3 of 8 shooting.  Spencer Parker had 11 points on 3 of 6 shooting.  Pep Joseph got the start at PG and he and Austin both struggled, at least on the stat sheet.  As a TEAM BG had 4 assists.

So BG moves to 3-1 now and in a 5-way tie for the MAC lead.  Obviously, a long way to go, but so far, so good.  BG will continue with the West teams, at home against EMU Wednesday and then @UT on Saturday.

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