Saturday, January 06, 2018

Falcons Get Small, Get Road Win

So, with 4 minutes left in the first half, things could not have been going worse for the BG Falcons.  They were down 24-13...that's right, 13 points in 16 minutes of college basketball.  The EMU zone had BG in fits and while EMU wasn't exactly lighting the scoreboard up on the other end, they were getting open looks and droppings 3s.

Meanwhile, BG was having foul trouble with their bigs.  So, Coach Huger said they went small out of necessity.  And playing with a four-guard lineup, BG finally broke out.  They closed the half with 16 points in the remaining 4 minutes and help EMU to 6, heading into the locker room down 1.

EMU came out of the locker room and jacked it back up to 6 points, but BG had another rally and with 5 minutes gone in the 2nd half the game was tied.  From there it was a dogfight, with no team leading by more than 4 points.  Minnie tied the game inside of 1 minute with a FT and then both teams traded pitiful last-minute possessions before overtime.

I did not know this, but Coach Huger has never lost in OT at BG.  He wasn't even behind in this one, as Matt Fox opened the scoring with a 3.  There wasn't a ton of scoring, and then with 90 seconds left Lillard score a hoop to put BG up 3 and then BG made 4 of 6 free throws in the last minute to close out the 75-71 overtime win.

It was an important win.  Not to make EMU out like the best team in the MAC, but after losing to Miami BG needed to get back on track before they dug a hole that would be very difficult to get out of.  Through the first 16 minutes they literally could not have been playing worse, but they got it together and ground it out and ended up with a win they kind of needed, not to make the 2nd game of the season too dramatic or anything.

As mentioned, they did it with a four-guard lineup that did not include Dylan Frye, who is injured but apparently not seriously.  But Antwon Lillard had a huge game and Matt Fox was nailing shots left and right and Justin Turner had his turns and BG got the win and for most of the first half, that had seemed like the most unlikely thing possible.

It certainly wasn't an offensive slugfest.  BG had .98 points per possession and held EMU to point .93.  Neither is very good, but BG made enough shots to get the win.

These are the stats of a pretty close game.  The teams were equal in shooting and no one did much on the offensive boards, a victory for BG since EMU relies on that and we were playing a small lineup.  BG got a couple of extra possessions due to turnovers and EMU was +3 on FTs for the game.

BG had 2 double-doubles.  Lillard had 20 points on 8 of 12 shooting and 12 rebounds and 5 assists and 2 turnovers.  Wiggins scored 15 points on 6 of 13 shooting and added 11 rebounds....and held James Thompson to one offensive rebound.  Matt Fox had 18 on 6 of 10 shooting from 3, and Turner had 15 on 4 of 8 shooting.    While he had a rough night shooting, Rodrick Caldwell had 6 assists and 0 turnovers.

When it is said BG went small, they went small.  Wiggins played 36 minutes, but Koch played 10, Uju 5 and Gadson 3.    That's a small lineup.

BG has a decent shot now to make it 2 in a row, with NIU coming to town, probably the next most likely team for BG to beat this least on paper.

No comments :