Tuesday, February 07, 2017

Sweet Road Victory....

Are you kidding me?  I mean....are you kidding me?

After Saturday's 2 OT thriller, BG came back and played an overtime game at Kent.  This one was every bit the thriller that the UT game was.  OK, maybe not every bit, but certainly a thrilling game which saw BG rally from a nearly impossible position to win the game on the road, 84-83.

And yes, they caught a huge break from Kent at the end.  There are no bad road wins in conference play.  None.  K?

Well, and there's actually more to it than that.  BG was in the lead most of the way, and while you're not happy to blow a lead late, it wasn't like it was one-sided the whole way and BG snuck in at the end.  BG controlled the game most of the way, leading for almost 36 minutes out of 45.  Kent led for less than 4 minutes.

With 4 minutes left in the game, BG was up by 9 points.  BG had a couple empty possessions while Kent made 5 FTs to get the lead down to 4 with about 2:30 left.  Frye split a couple FTs and BG was up 5 again.  Zabo and Frye matched 2 FTS and BG was still up 5 with 2 minutes left.  Then, Kent drained a 3FG to get it to 2.  BG was back up 4 with 1:26 left when things quit bouncing back and forth.

BG forced a Kent missed shot but the Flashes got the board and hit a jumper.  Lillard missed for BG and Kent hit another jumper and the game was tied with :25.  BG had one of those possessions where you hold it until the end and worse you can do is OT.  Jimmy Hall blocked a Dylan Frye shot, it went OB and then Ish Ali missed a 3FG to end regulation.

Halfway through the overtime, both teams had only one basket and it was still tied, 77-77.  The game was tied at 79 with 1:20 to play.  And then there was a sequence that really should have been decisive for Kent.  Ridenour scored and then stole the ball from Lillard on the other end with :41 left.  They ran the clock to :14 and Ridenour scored again to put Kent up 4 with :14 left.  At this point, it should be over.

Rod Caldwell ran down the court and drained a 3FG with :09 left.  BG called time out.  Kent just had to inbound the ball, get a BG foul and make it very tough for the Falcons.  Instead, Kent inbounded the ball and essentially fumbled it out of bounds.  (Julian Edelman ain't walking through that door).  BG had the ball with :06 left.  No timeouts, so they inbound the ball.  It doesn't go well.  Caldwell launches a prayer, total airball, but Wiggins snatches the ball Lorenzo Charles style and puts it home to put BG ahead, however improbably.

There was 1.2 left.  Kent inbounded, BG knocked it OB.  After a long review, Kent got to inbound again and fired a shot up.  From Todd Walker's description, it looked like Worrell grabbed the ball below the rim as it came down, but Kent started to scream right away for goaltending.  This is exactly the kind of goofy call you can see the MAC's officials making, so you are kind of wincing a little bit.  But it was determined that there was no shot, so no goaltending and BG had its second straight overtime win.  (Here's the SportsCenter Clip)

On the stats, it was a little bit more of a normal game, with BG scoring 1.06 points per possession and Kent 1.05.  BG shot the ball fairly well--that's a couple points ahead of the NCAA average--and took good care of the ball.  The Falcons even had an decent/average day on the offensive boards.  Their biggest weakness was at the FT line, where they shot only 62%.

On defense, Kent shot about as well as BG did, however they had 6 additional turnovers--and one particularly deadly one.  BG also did a better than expected day on the defensive boards.  Kent was getting 40% and BG held them to 34%, which is good if not great.  And Kent got to the line less, though they made 82% and ended up +2 on FTs against BG.

BG was led by Matt Fox, who had a huge game with 5 of 7 from 3FG and 3 of 4 from the line to net out 18 points and a team-high.  He also had 3 assists and 0 turnovers.  Wiggins had 16 on 7 of 10 shooting (and one huge one) and 8 rebounds.  Rod Caldwell also had 16 on 4 of 6 3FG shooting (and one huge one).  Dylan Frye had 11 on a tough 3 of 9 shooting night.  He did make 5 of 6 from the line.  Interestingly, BG got production from guys who did not contribute as much in the UT game, whereas the big contributors in that game did not contribute much this game.

BG did good work on Jimmy Hall.  He scored 12 on 4 of 10 shooting and 8 turnovers.

Well, things are getting interesting.  As you can see, 9 of the 12 teams in the MAC have 6 wins or 5 wins.  Things are very log-jammed.  I said I was going to avoid getting too excited until BG had won 3 in a row, which they have now done.  Saturday will be very interesting.  Buffalo is just scorching hot right now.  Hopefully, everyone who was there for the game Saturday will be back and making noise.  This will be a good test for the guys.

MAC standings below, sans tiebreakers.

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