Sunday, November 20, 2016

Kangaroo Curse

So, game 3 of the season ended up like the first very nearly was BG's first victory and it came down to the last minute, but in the end BG was defeated in their home opener for the first time since the early 1990s.  It was a very ugly game that at times seemed to set the sport back to way earlier than that.

Also, for whatever it is worth, BG has the worst record in the history of D1 playing teams repped by Kangaroos.

The first half of the game was tightly battled, with 5 ties and BG hitting 2 FTs to end the half and lead by 2.  BG came out of the locker room and scored the first 6 points and took an 8 point lead.  With 13 left UMKC had it back down to 1 and with 9 minutes left they took the lead.  The next few minutes were close but then with 4:24 left Matt Fox nailed a 3 and BG led by 4.  Much like what happened at South Dakota, BG proceeded to lose those last minutes by 10-4.

There were two key exchanges.  The first was with 2 minutes left.  BG was up 1 with the ball and had an offensive rebound, but then Lillard was called for a push-off.  Then, UMKC came down and hit a 3FG to go up 2.

The second came right after that.  BG had tied the game with a layup and was in great shape because with 1 minute left could expect to get the ball back either way.  In the next possession, BG got two missed shots--Alcegaire with a block that went OB, and then a missed jumper with about :30 left.  BG had a very good game on the boards but this particular rebound was grabbed by UMKC and now they could hold for the last shot, which they did, hitting a floater with :03 left to win the game.

That's a tough one.  The next two games are much tougher.  BG is playing at less than 100% health....more on that below.  Anyway, to start the year, it is pretty clear that we still have a ways to go with the program.

Here are the stats.  Neither team had a good offensive day.  UMKC had .99 points per possession and BG had .96 points per possession.  In fact, it is surprising that BG did as well as they did on offense, given that they shot 39%--that's 46% on 2FG and 25% on 20 3FGs--and then also had a poor day taking care of the ball, turning it over on 20% of the possessions.  That kind of shooting is rarely going to get you to a win.  BG kept itself alive with great offensive rebounding, getting 45% of the available offensive boards--though only 12 second chance points--and then making 69% of FTs and ending up with 5 more than UMKC overall.

On defense, BG had an above average day, as noted above.  The Roos shot 43% overall...that's 47% on 2FG and 35% on 3FG, which evens out to an effective FG% of 49%, which is just a tick under average.  They took much better care of the ball, turning it over on only 14% of its possessions.  BG did a good job on the defensive boards as well, except for the last one.  the game was foul-plagued both ways.

Individually, BG was led by Antwon Lillard, who scored 19 points on 7 of 12 and 2 of 5 shooting.  He also had 3 assists, but 3 turnovers as well.  BG's only other double figure scorer was Zack Denny, who had 12 but continues to struggle with this shot.  He shot 5 of 11 overall, but missed all 3 of his 3FG.  He did have a double-double, adding 13 rebounds.  Alcegaire had 9 points and 5 rebounds and Matt Fox scored 8.  Ish Ali had 5 assists, but also had 5 turnovers and seemed to be in trouble whenever he handled the ball in traffic.

Without getting into it too closely (you can look at the box score) , BG's younger players are clearly showing some growing pains, which is to be expected.  Oh, and three of them are injured.
So, that doesn't make it easier.  Particularly, the loss of Uju, a JUCO guy expected to provide badly needed inside depth is serious.

So, Green Bay is next.  They lost last night to Murray State in a close game much of the way, but a final deficit of 16. As advertised, GB shoots a lot of 3FGs and made 35% of them to get to 1 point per possession in a very fast 77 possession game.  They got 17 out of Charles Cooper--though an inefficient 17--and FR Trevor Anderson had 15 on only 7 shots.

On defense, they struggled.  The Racers had 1.2 points per possession and made an incredible 63% of their 2 FGs with only 14% turnovers.

The question is whether BG is in position to take advantage as much advantage of that as Murray State was.  We shall see.

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