Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Falcons Notch W

So, the BG men's basketball team picked up the W last night...it wasn't easy and it almost was a soul-crushing defeat, but it finished with a happy ending after an entertaining back and forth last few minutes, with both teams playing their third game in 3 days.  Anyway, excellent to get off the mark for BG against a decent team.

It was overall a much stronger performance for the Falcons across a much larger portion of the game.  They shot the ball much better and defended much better as well.  It wasn't a full 40 minute performance, but it was much improved compared to previous games.

For example...a little over 4 minutes into the game, BG was down 8 already.  BG then owned the remainder of half, tying the game 5 minutes later and leading by 11 before heading into the locker room with a 6 point lead, 41-34.

  BG started the second half on a 15-3 run, giving them a 14 point lead with 15 minutes left.  Murray State chipped away at the lead, but didn't get it inside 5 until there were about 4 minutes left, and then they tied the game at 71 with 3:41 left.  

BG was up 1 with 2 minutes left.  Murray State got a basket, BG answered, Murray State got a 3FG and BG answered with a Denny 3 with :53 left.  

Finally, BG got a key stop, with a missed 3FG and a cleared rebound.  There was about a :05 differential.  BG called a time out, ran a perfect play, moved the ball and found Denny all alone under the basket for an uncontested layup.  Which he missed.  Guy had a great game, hit the 3FG before that, but he missed the easiest shot he'll take all year.  

Murray State ran down the court with :05 left, got into the key, the refs swallowed their whistles, the shot missed and BG had the game won.  So, two key stops in the last minute leads to a happy ending for the Falcons.  Had they taken that missed shot and run down and nailed a layup for the win?  Tht would have been soul-crushing.  But that did not happen.

BG had its best offensive game of the season and it isn't close.  They scored 1.11 points per possession.  Murray State had 1.096, which is actually also BG's worst defensive game of the season, despite all the talk about getting stops.  The tempo was 70 possessions, which is a little bit more comfortable for us.

The key thing to the victory is all the way at the right of this chart.  Murray shot 44% and 48%, while BG shot 41% and 42%, so while BG had its best shooting game of the season, Murray still shot it better.  However, BG took good care of the ball and had an average/passable game on the offensive boards.  The key was FTs.  BG took 29 FTs and Murray State took 12. a shocking disparity.  Even more important, BG was 24 of 29, for 85%....meaning the Falcons took advantage of the opening that was presented to them.  The Racers were only 7 of 12, meaning BG was +17 at the line and there were no last minute fouls to inflate the numbers.

BG had four players in double figures.  Zack Denny had 17 on 6 of 10 shooting, plus 1 of 3 on 3FGs, one of which was the game-winning shot.  Demajeo Wiggins had 13 points and 9 rebounds, most of which came on 9 of 10 FT shooting.  This is huge.  Last year, he shot 37% from the line and this year he is shooting 78%. He's much more dangerous at that level, if he can sustain it.  Wes Alcegaire also had 13, with 5 of 11 shooting and 3 of 6 from 3FG.  Ali had 12 points on 4 of 10 shooting with 5 assists over 2 turnovers.  Dylan Frye had his best game with 9 points including 2 of 3 from beyond the arc.

So, at 1-4 BG now heads off for Thanksgiving break on a high note.  They play again on Saturday against Morgan State, which should be winnable at home...and kicks off the very minute the OSU-Michigan game does.

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