Sunday, January 22, 2017

If only we played Ball State every game

"Can you talk to Steinbrecher about us playing
Ball State more?"
So, BG picked up their second win of MAC play and their second win over Ball State.

If only we could play Ball State every week.

Because precisely ALL of BG's wins in the MAC have been against Ball State.

Last time we got a little bit over our skiis after the Ball State win and started to get a little optimistic.  This time, we're going to wait, oh, let's say until BG can win like 3 in a row before we start to think that we might be starting to gel.

For now, we'll take it.  BG is 2-4 and needed this win badly.  The Falcons nearly handed it back at the end, but got one last play and put it away, 79-74.  Things are still tough, but very tough without this win.

BG started the game with Dylan Frye in the starting lineup and Antwon Lillard on the bench.  Coach said they wanted another ball handler and creator on the floor.  And BG certainly got off to a good start.  BG was up 15 with 8 minutes left to go in the first half.  Ball State ticked it down to 6 but BG went to the locker room up 10.

That was a lead BG still held 6 minutes into the second half.  But BG went the next five minutes only scoring 1 point while BGSU got 9 to cut the lead to 2.  From there on in the game was on.  Ball State cut the lead to 1 numerous times but BG was able to bump it back up.

The key sequence began with about 1 minute left.  Wiggins picked up an offensive board and found Matt Fox in the chaos.  Fox drilled the 3 (second huge hoop of the year) to put BG up by 5.

You'd have to think you were in good shape at that point.  Alas....

With :55 Zack Denny fouled.  Ball State made 1 FT.  BG by 5.
With :34 left Fox gave up a steal but Ball State couldn't convert and Fox had the board.  Denny fouled.
With: 20 left, Denny splits the pair.  BG by 6.  (Should be good, right?).
With :15 Ball State drills a 3.  BG by 3.
With: 11 left, Denny fouled hits both.  BG by 5. (Feeling good?)
With :10 left and BSU without time outs, Ali fouls a guy 88 feet from the basket in which is an incredibly bad play.  Without, BSU has to take up half the game getting a shot off.
With :10 left BSU makes both FTs.  BG by 3.  (Still good?)
With :10 left BG inbounds the ball to Denny, their best FT shooter and SR and he literally fumbles the ball out of bounds.  Now, BSU has the ball in the frontcourt with a one possession game.

Finally, BG makes a play.  Matt Fox tips the inbound, it results in a turnover and Ali ices the game on the other end with a layup.

Eesh.  But, hey...a win.  You build the big lead and made FTs and ultimately made a bad turnover but then got it back.

These are the stats of a close game.  In fact, they are even in 3 of the first four categories.  The biggest issue is the fact that Ball State, which had been scoring like crazy in the last weeks, found themselves being stopped by the BG defense.  This was the key.  BG had .97 points per possession, which is below their normal average, but held BSU to .91, which is their lowest in MAC play.

Their shooting% is the second lowest of the year for them.  The previous lowest was when they played BG.  Anyway, BG also kept them off the boards, which had been a big issue for the Falcons in MAC play.  Ball State hasn't had that low a result since November.

Denny scored 17 on a tough shooting night with 4-10 shooting and 7 of 8 from the line and 1 nearly disastrous turnover. Wiggins had 14 on 6 of 9 shooting and 14 rebounds.  Ali had 13 points on 4 of 9 shooting and only 2 assists over 4 turnovers.  Alcegaire had 10 points on 3 of 8 shooting on what seemed like an uneven day, including 3 turnovers.  Dylan Frye, making the start, played 32 minutes without a field goal, missing all 7 shots.  He did make 5 rebounds a 2 assists. Off the bench, Lillard had 6 points in 23 minutes.  Coach was also complimentary of the play of Rasheed Worrell's play, with 5 points, 5 rebounds and 2 steals in only 11 minutes of play.

FWIW, Todd Walker said Jeffrey Uju might be back in a couple weeks.

So, the Falcons have a shot now to get a 2nd in a row.  They travel to Mt. Pleasant to play CMU. The Chips are beatable, though the game is at home.  Having said that, Keene went off for a D1-high 50 today.

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