Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Crazy Night in Athens: Said Everyone, All the Time

Well now, that was one of those nights in Athens...not one of THOSE nights, but you know what I mean.

A crazy game ended up with BG taking a very solid road win , a game in which they played as well as they played poorly against CMU.  I think it provides optimism that the team might be ahead of schedule.  Of course, time will still tell.

Having said that, it could not have started worse.  OU got out to a blazing start, hardly missing anything...they led 10-2, 21-10 and 29-15 mid-way through the first half.  That many points in ten minutes is just a lot.

They were still leading by 14 with 4 minutes left to go in the half when things just simply changed for BG.  No idea how or why this happens, but the game did a J-turn right then.  The Falcons closed the half out on a 10-1 run to trail by 5...usually, the halftime breaks that kind of momentum but this time it didn't.  BG had the game tied at 44 and then took a 46-44 lead with 16:26 left and the Falcons did not relinquish it yet again.

BG kept rolling, taking a 9-point lead with 12:40 left.  It never got closer than 4, and BG was up 8 with 3:54 left when the game's crazy and big moment occurred.

We're going to get to that, trust me.

However, a point needs to be made about that.  Certainly the results of the melee went in BG's favor, but for the 18 minutes before that BG had outscored OU 51-29.  So, if you're going to suggest that somehow BG didn't deserve to win because of the technicals, well, BG had badly outplayed them for a significant portion of the game and had the win in sight already.

Oh, yeah.  The melee.  So Ish Ali nails a 3-ball right in the front of the BG bench.  And he's fouled.  The two of them tumble to the floor.  BG's guys are celebrating and they kind of engulf the OU defender, who is lying on the floor.  His teammates come rushing to his aid to extract him and that went south and there was a lot of pushing and shoving.  It seemed to be taken care of and then the OU players seemed to be behind the BG bench and it got a little more heated and a ref got a bloody nose and then everything was calmed down.

The refs went to the video screen and watched the replay.  And watched.  And watched.  They took a reported 20 minutes to determine what happened--and it was tough, with so many people in such a tight scrum.  When it was all sorted out, OU got 3 technicals and BG's JD Tisdale got one.  The report was that the OU T's were for entering BG's bench area.  No idea what Tisdale's was for.

Look it worked for BG and who's going to complain.  On a holistic level, I don't see how they did anything three times worse than we did.  I think you had to call something, but I thought it did seem out of proportion.

If you are curious, here is what Saul Phillips had to say.

Anyway, Ali had the "and-one" from his 3FG and then 4 FTs on the technicals, of which he nailed 3.  BG had the play and Zack Denny made an old-school 3 point play, making it a 10-0 run on one trip down the floor.  At that point, BG was up 15 and it never got closer than 13.  Phillips was T-d once as well.

Long night for the Bobcats, who have been struggling to beat BG lately.

Once again, the game was not fast-paced, just marked with good shooting.  There were 67 possessions, which is about the NCAA average.  BG ended up with a crazy 1.31 points per possession and OU ended up with 1.08.

As you can see here, OU actually outshot BG for the game. However, BG combined that with taking better care of the ball, a huge offensive rebounding advantage and obviously a big differential at the FT line.  BG was 22-30 from the line--a really good 73%--while OU was 12-21, which is unusual for a team that was 10th in FT% in the nation.

The offensive rebounding thing was huge.  BG had also as many offensive rebounds as OU had defensive rebounds and that never happens.

Spencer Parker was just unstoppable in the second half, with 15 points on 7 of 12 shooting, second half alone.  Overall, he had 22 on 8 of 15 shooting and 8 rebounds.  As an observation and not a judgment, I think it is fair that Parker has tended to be inconsistent during his Falcon career:  one big game, one invisible one.  This is his 4th game over 20 points this year.  If he can string success together over several games, BG becomes a much better team.

Ismail Ali had 19 points, 3 assists and no turnovers.  He was 9 of 11 from the line.  He got 26 minutes and I believe is our most energetic and effective PG.

Rasheed Worrell had 13 points on 6 of 10 shooting and 5 rebounds.  I continue to think he can be a really good player and he seems to be gaining.  He's got a soft shooting touch on a mid-range jumper and can play physically.

Zack Denny double-doubled at 12-10.  He did not make a 3FG but only tried 2 and still contributed to the win.

Finally, Antwon Lillard--who is also growing every game--had 12 points on 4 of 9 shooting and 5 rebounds.

I honestly thought that the OU game would be a very tough assignment for BG, but you have to be impressed.  Furthermore, BG got their doors blown off early and stayed with it, went on a long period of extended domination even before the fight and then closed it out from there.  That's a very nice win for BG, especially on the road.

The Falcons continue to exceed what I had expected and it has been and will be fun to watch them continue to grow.

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