Wednesday, December 06, 2017

Purple Aces do "Whatever they want"

Last night was shaping up to be an excellent look at where we truly are, as BG faced off against one of their better non-conference opponents, a team that barely beat us last year.  That's a team without their leading scorer, that came in struggling to score points...but also a team that is well coached and knows exactly what they want to do, which is employ old-school Indiana motion offense and man to man defense and just shred Bowling Green, especially on defense.

The final was 91-76.  Yes, the Purple Aces benefitted from incredibly hot shooting, but to focus on that would minimize the number of times they had wide open layups and 3FG shots.  They would get into that rhythm with the motion offense and just keep working in and then sooner or later someone would miss an assignment and then the motion would kick in and they move the ball really well and it would find someone who was wide open.

It was BG's worst defensive game of the season, and exceeded last year only by UC and the football player OU game.  Even after that, you could see this trend coming.  BG allowed 1.3 points per possession in this game, but Abilene Christian got 1.25 and Lake Erie 1.21.  San Jose State turned into an offensive juggernaut for part of the game, as did Norfolk State.

As Justin Turner told The Blade after the game, "we've got a lot of cleaning up to do on the back end."

Now that this is on film, it is going to be exploited, especially in conference play.  It is a good time to remember how young this team is and that while we can see promise they are still young.  How young?  Based on kenpom, we are the 8th youngest team in D1.

The Evansville shooting was absolutely incredible.  They shot 80% from 3--12 of 15--and 61% overall.  That's an EFG of 71.4%, exceeded last year only by the football OU game and then before that in 2012 by Morehead State.

That's how well they shot.  Here's another thing...they did turn the ball over too much and they didn't get to the line a lot and they were nothing special on the offensive boards, but none of that could counteract their shooting.

BG's offense was pretty good.  BG had 1.08 ppp, a good total though their lowest since the FGCU game.  BG's field goal shooting was 47% and 32%, which are not awful numbers.  They took excellent care of the ball and got to the line a ton (I swear Evansville fouled every time we got downcourt), but that couldn't make up for it.  For one thing, BG only got a few offensive rebounds and made only 67% of their free throws as opposed to 85% for Evansville.

If we don't see Dru Smith anytime soon, that's OK with me.  Guy had 25 on 11 of 13 shooting, 8-8 from 2FG, 5 rebounds, 7 assists and 4 steals.

For BG, Justin Turner scored again, getting 21 points on 7 of 12 shooting, including 5 of 6 from 3FG.  Frye had 14 on 5 of 10 shooting, but was 1 of 5 from 3.  Dude slips down the baseline like a piece of paper slipping under a door.  He also had 4 rebounds and 4 assists.

Cummings had 13 off the bench on 4 of 9 shooting and Koch had 11 on 4 of 6 shooting.  Wiggins had 11 of BG's 22 total rebounds...of course, you don't get many defensive rebounds when the other team doesn't provide any missed shots.

One thing I heard from Coach Huger and online was that the 2-day turnaround is tough for a young team to prepare for a team like Evansville.  I suppose that was a factor, but I do think that they seized on something that has been emerging as an issue.  I know this is a focus for Coach, so you'd like to see that improve over the course of the year.  Conference foes will relentlessly go at a weakness like this.

BG does not play at home again until December 28.  In the meantime, they continue their commute to Norfolk with their second straight weekend trip there, this time to play Old Dominion, the top-ranked team on the schedule (and hopefully on a home-home for next year).  There's a trip to Green Bay to play a down team and that's it between now and Christmas.  Hopefully, with some practice time freed up, Coach can address some of the defensive issues.

No comments :