Sunday, January 24, 2016

BG loses Centennial Game on the Boards

The Centennial Game was an excellent event.  Falcon fans got the opportunity to walk down memory lane with an excellent representation of former Falcon players, especially from the Dakich and the Larranaga eras.

The only thing that would have finished it off was a victory.  BG battled hard and gave a representative performance, but ultimately lost its third straight home game, something you cannot afford to do in MAC play.  BG has 3 of the next 4 on the road and while BG has played well on the road, you don't want to try and feed the family that way.

In the end, BG had no answer for Jimmy Hall and no answer for the Flashes on the offensive boards.  Hall was especially decisive.  Kent fed him the ball consistently, and every time he got it, it seemed like he was in a mismatch.  He scored 26 points on 11 of 25 shooting and had 16 rebounds, nine of them offensive.  He was simply dominant and Kent rode him without mercy.

The game was tied at 14 about 10 minutes into the first half.  Obviously, that's not much offensive production.  Kent then found a spark, scoring 11 points over the next 5 minutes while BG did not score at all, on their way to a first half where they shot a brutal 20%.

Kent led by 11 at the break, 30-19.

BG shot much better in the second half (57%).  And it showed, as BG began to pressure Kent.  BG chipped away at the lead, getting it to 3 with 10 minutes left and again with 9.  With 6:36 left they cut it to 1 and BG tied the game at 51 with 5:52 left.

Things are OK at this point, the crowd is getting involved.  Kent was up 3 with about 2 minutes left when the game's key sequence occurred.  Kent had the ball and BG needed a stop, but Hall drove into the lane and nailed a jump shot to go up 5.  BG came downcourt and took a 3 which missed and Kent came down and Hall scored again, giving him two baskets in 26 seconds and making the lead 7.

The last minute was typical MAC crazy-time.  Not crazy time like at Ball State and EMU, but crazy time.  BG chipped it to 3 with :28 left.  KSU made 2 FTs with :27 left.  Amazingly, Kent was still only in the 1-1, and they missed a front end.  BG got it back to 3 with :09 left.  Kent missed another front end and Kent fouled BG before they could shoot the 3.  Now there are :04 left.  Ali (also in 1-1) made the first and missed the second on purpose, but Kent cleared the board and BG fouled.

The Flashes made 1 of 2 to still only be up 3.  He missed the second one and BG tried to lob the ball up court but Kent knocked it out of bounds.  Now with .9 left, BG got the ball in the corner to Denny.  Zack didn't get a shot off...he was way off balance and there certainly appeared to be some contact, but the ref swallowed his whistle and that was that.

Again, remembering what we expected for this year, I think BG is playing competitive ball and I'm encouraged.  The next thing is to see them continue to improve and win a couple of these close ones.  Their big struggle--in my view--is consistent offensive production.

Rarely does this graph so accurately tell the story of the game.  Nobody shot well.  Kent was 38%/21% and BG was 38%/27%.  Collectively, the teams were 7-29 from 3FG.  All the Kent players not named Hall were 14 out of 41.  Turnovers were similar and offensive rebounds were clearly the difference.  BG even kept Kent off the line.  The one thing you don't see here is that BG had another poor game shooting FTs, hitting only 13 out of 21.  The Falcons are in the lower third of D1 for shooting FTs.

In the end, it was Kent with .95 PPP and BG at .9 in a 65 possession game.

Spencer Parker and Wes Alcegaire led BG with 14 points.  Parker got it on 4 of 7 shooting and 6 of 7 at the line with 4 rebounds and 3 assists.  Wes made 5 of 7 3 FGs and has been playing well of late.  It was not Zack Denny's night...he missed all 7 shots, though he did add a team-high 6 rebounds.  Wiggins added 5 boards and Ish Ali had 6 rebounds over 3 turnovers.

After the game, Coach said that the team needs to get everyone producing on the same night, and that would certainly help.  He also said that our game plan needs defensive boards to create offensive opportunity and that has been an issue.  For all games this year, BG is only losing 29% of the available defensive rebounds, but in MAC play that is up to 33%.  It isn't terribly surprising given BG's lack of a true 5, but it is going to be an issue.  BG was forced to play a zone to protect the middle against Kent, and that didn't make it any easier.

Great crowd, second straight over 3K.  Would be great to reward one of those big crowds with a win, but for now we're going to have to be content with progress and potential.

And a Harold Anderson bobblehead.  Like anyone ever expected to hear that sentence.

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