Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Orange Road Warriors Win #3

You just don't expect to see an average MAC team--at 4-3--with this kind of profile.  Normally, that team wins at home and loses on the road.  Your Falcon team?   Doing it backwards.

But, hey....4-3 is 4-3, and we're talking the #10 conference in RPI as of yesterday.

I think yesterday's win was pretty notable, for a couple reasons.  First, BG battled a lot of foul trouble in the game...and Zack Denny is in a shooting BG had to have some different guys step up.  So, when you hear that you won a game and JD Tisdale had 11 on 4-6 shooting and Rasheed Worrell had 11 points and 9 rebounds (though his FG shooting was poor, he made 7 of 10 from the line), and Alcegaire had 14 points (6 of 7 shooting) and 5 rebounds and Pep Joseph had 9 points...and Matt Fox hits the game winning'd have to feel pretty good about the team's ability to have different guys step up in a key situation.

Another reason I felt the way was notable was that BG was outplayed most of the way.  Basketball is a game where you have to at least stay in touch...and BG was down 10 in the first half but got it back to 5 at halftime. WMU got the lead up to 7 in the second half, but BG kept the game within reach, which gives you a shot at the end.

Finally, BG had a strong close to the game.  With about 3 minutes left, BG had made a run to get the game tied and then there was one of those exchanges...WMU hit a couple FTs, got a steal and nailed another basket to go up 4 heading into the final minutes.  I marked that point in my head, because that can set the tone for the road home.

Except it didn't.  The game was still a 4-point deficit with about 2 minutes left when BG turned the table...Ali lay up, get a stop, Worrell 2 FTs and the game was tied with 1:23 left.

Next possession, BG catches a break as Haymond, a career 73% FT shooter missed both ends of a FT situation and BG came down and Matt Fox nailed a 3FG with :53 left to put BG ahead by 3.

BG got a stop and Worrell cleared the board.  There were :39 left and WMU oddly decided to play for the stop.  It ended with a foul and Worrell on the line with :11 left.  He's very solid at the line, but this time he missed them both and WMU had a chance down 3.

BG did the right thing by fouling before they could launch a 3FG and Wilder made the first and missed the second on purpose (there are :04 left) and Parker rebounded and was fouled.  He hit both FTs in clutch time to put the game away.

So, after that exchange with 3 minutes left which often leaves a team chasing until the end, the Falcons punched back, got stops, cleared the boards and then Matt Fox--WHAT DOES THE FOX SAY??--nails the winning trey.

Numbers wise, BG won the game by generating more possessions, taking care of the ball and being strong on the boards.  The shooting for the game was equal--remember, it was a one-point final, but BG took 65 FG attempts and WMU took 51.  That came from BG doing an excellent job taking care of the ball--the game had 73 possessions, so relatively up-paced--and winning on both sides of the glass...which was great after struggling in two straight games.  That was enough to offset the +12 WMU had at the FT line.  The Broncos made 75% of their 36 attempts, which is a huge number when you are not being fouled in the last minute...and BG made only 63% of their 24 attempts.

Individual stats are above, except for Ish Ali with 5 assists over 2 turnovers, including an assist on the Fox game-winner.

So, BG is 4-3 and heads now to CMU where they will test out the road court advantage again, this time against CMU, who are also 4-3 and beat BG at the Stroh.

The MAC continues to be a circus...UT lost at home to OU last night (though they erased a 20 point deficit) and Akron got a big home win over NIU.  It is very entertaining this year and the MAC is (as mentioned) currently the 10th ranked conference.  Enjoy the ride.

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