Sunday, January 17, 2016

BGSU Keeps Rolling, Tied for First in East

Dan Dakich once said this:

There are three things you remember in your life.

When you get married.
When your kids are born.
Road wins.

The order depends on who you beat.

So, yeah.  There was a lot to like about yesterday's win over EMU.  There was also a period of about 10 minutes that was not to like.

But ultimately, BG hung on for the win and got the road win.

And who doesn't love that?

BG was in control pretty much from the beginning.  They were up 8 with about 12 minutes left and went on a 3-minute, 7-0 run to go up 15.  From there, BG kept it up, leading by as much as 17 and then leading by 13 at the half.

Much as the did at OU, the Falcons continued the run after the break, pushing the lead to 20 before the first media timeout.  Don't know about you, but I wasn't feeling like it was over at that point.  EMU made a run to get it to 12 but BG punched it back up to 17 with 9 minutes left.

And then things changed.

EMU scored the next 15 points over 4 minutes, aided by a combination of missed BG shots and turnovers.  The Eagles had turned the pressure up and it really flummoxed BG, who at one point turned it over on 3 out of 4 possessions.

Mysteriously, EMU then pulled off the pressure once the game with within one score.  Honestly, I think they'd have been hard-pressed to lose if they kept it up.

BG poked the lead up to 6, but EMU scored 6 straight to complete the comeback and tie the game with 2:35 left.

I do give BG credit here.  Obviously, the previous 9 minutes were a dumpster fire.  However, having been punched in the nose, they stood their ground and did not yield.

Spencer Parker scored and then Raven Lee made 2 free throws and the game was still tied with 1:54 left.  Then, Antwon Lillard followed a Zack Denny miss and BG was up 2.  Raven Lee--who spent most of the second half making shots without conscience--missed a 3FG and Lillard had the board and BG had the stop they really needed.  Parker was fouled and split a pair of FTs with :53 left and BG was up 3.

Lee missed another 3FG and Pep Joseph cleared the board and Denny was fouled.  He split the pair and BG was up 4 with :30 left.

Lee was fouled and hit both FTs. with :21 left and the lead now 2.  Pep was fouled and he split the pair and EMU had their shot.  Working without a timeout, they got the ball to Lee who launched a potentially game-tying 3 but (according to the description of Todd Walker), the ball was practically down but it popped out again and BG cleared the board and had the win.

Again.  Road win>road loss.

It was a relatively high-paced game at 71 possessions.  BG had a very good offensive game at 1.19 points per possession and have a little more trouble on the defensive end, allowing 1.12 points per possession.  The difference in the game is in the first and most important category, which is shooting.  BG shot 48% overall from the field, which is good, and then 12 of 23 from 3FG (52%) which is just flat out unstoppable.  EMU shot 44% and 22%.  BG had a +7 advantage in 3FGs and that's going to make you hard to beat.  BG also had a very good game on the offensive boards--they hardly missed at all and when they did they got the board.

And yet....

BG had trouble with turnovers but the main (near) equalizer was free throws.  Both teams committed 23 fouls and BG tried 26 FTs and EMU shot 25.  BG made a poor 16 and EMU made a scorching 22.

Anyway, out of all that BG had enough for the win.

Individually, Spencer Parker continued to play well.  He had 21 points on 7 of 12 shooting, 7 rebounds and 5 assists.  That's his second straight game over 20 points and he is starting to rebound more.  Typically he has played like a 3 but his is starting to produce more like a 4 in the last few games.  If he develops some consistency, it is huge for this team.

Zack Denny also scored 20 for the second time in MAC play.  He made 7 of 15 and 5 of 8 from beyond the arc.  Wes Alcegaire had 17 points on 5 of 12 shooting and 4 of 9 from beyond the arc.  It was his first double-figure game since the Drake game on 12/5.  He also had 7 rebounds.

Most games this year, Ish Ali has been BG's more productive PG, but Joseph had the key yesterday with 7 assists and 9 points on 3 of 6 shooting.

So BG is 3-1 and tied with Kent atop the East.  There's another post about how the MAC is following exactly zero patterns so far this year.  I have preached caution when evaluating BG so far this year.  Certainly, two road wins in a week moved the needle...

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