Sunday, March 01, 2015

Falcons Answer Call

So after a bad week last week, losing 2 at home, BG had put itself in a position where it needed two road at OU and one at Miami against a team that beat them by 11 at the Stroh.  And they answered that call, which leaves them today in a 3-way tie for first place, one game short of 20 wins.

They answered another call last night.

BG led at halftime.  They came out of the locker room and played about as poorly as they have all season on the offensive side of the ball.  It was simply unbelievable...BG did not score AT ALL in the second half until 10:10 was left.  That is not a typo.  To their credit, they were defending decently, holding Miami to 14 points in the second half.  Even so, when Jehvon Clarke finally broke through, BG was down 8...but after a drought like that, you'd expect to lose most of the time.  BG was still at least within striking distance.

But things would have to change, and you have to give the Falcons credit.  As Coach said after the game, BG did not get down on themselves or each other, they kept digging, kept working.  And things did change.  After scoring 0 points in the first 10 minutes, BG scored 31 in the last 10 minutes, which is an incredible thing on its own.

Even though BG had broken the scoring cherry with 10 minutes left, they were still down 11 with 8:08 left.  Zack Denny, who has been having trouble getting shots for a few games, nailed a 3 to cut the lead to 8.  It was the start of a 15-3 run that put BG in the lead with 3:51---on another Denny 3-ball.

A minute or so later Miami had the lead by 1 and BG took it for the final time....on a Zack Denny 3.

BG was up 2 with 2 minutes left.  Eric Washington did what he does, which is get into the lane, but he was unable to get the ball down.  BG cleared the board, ran clock and then Clarke nailed a 2FG with :54 left, BG now up 4.  Clarke then got a steal and BG went to the line with :42 left and Miami never had the ball again with a chance to tie the game.  BG made 7 out of 10 FTs in the last minute.

Incredibly improbable, but a huge victory for the Falcons.  I am sure they had a great bus ride home and they deserved it.  Obviously, you don't want to go 10 minutes without scoring, but I doubt if too many teams are down 11 on the road and rally to win in 8 minutes.

Miami turnovers were the key part of the game, overall.  Miami outshot BG 48% to 41%, with neither team effective from beyond the arc.  (Denny's 3 daggers in the second half were BG's only 3FGs for the entire game).  Much was made about BG's difficult dealing with Miami pressure in the first game...BG actually only turned the ball over 12 times in that game--the effect of the pressure showed up more in poor shooting.

Anyway, in Oxford last night BG turned the ball over only 10 times, which is 16% and a very solid number.  Meanwhile, Miami turned it over 17 times, which was 27.9% of their total possessions, which is a tough number to win with.  (It is also the highest turnover percentage for any BG opponent this season).

Neither team did much on the offensive boards...BG seemed focused on getting back to keep the RedHawks out of transition.  The other difference was FTs...BG hit 83% of its FT attempts, including 7 in the last minute and had a +11 advantage at the line.

Individually, BG was led by Zack Denny with 17 points.  He shot 5 of 11 and 3 of 5 and added 5 rebounds.  Holmes had 15 points and 8 rebounds, shooting 4 of 8 from the field.

One guy who deserves some mention is Josh Gomez.  He's been virtually forgotten but I give him credit.  He has improved and is now playing a role on the team.  He played 9 minutes with 6 points. Those 9 minutes are really important because they give Holmes an opportunity to get a little rest.

The other individual thing is that BG seems to be struggling at PG.  Most of the season BG has alternated Joseph and Austin at the PG, but yesterday BG actually went to far as to play Clarke at the point.  Joseph played 23 minutes, shot 1 of 6 and had only 1 assist.  Austin played only 5 minutes.

We head to the final week.  I'll have more on the permutations coming up tomorrow, but BG has two very tough games....Kent and @Buffalo.  A win over Kent and things get a lot easier...let's go to the game people.

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