Saturday, February 17, 2018

BG Puts Up Fight, Loses at Buffalo

So, this was anticipated.  The game at Buffalo was going to be one of the three toughest games on our schedule, along with going to ODU and UT.  BG lost by 42 to ODU and 26 to Toledo.  They lost by 13 to Buffalo, after being down 6 with 4 minutes left.

I'm not suggesting moral victories.  Buffalo is better than BG and it isn't close.  Just for reference, that's how good we need to be to win.  But we knew that.  The difference is that BG just collapsed when they played those first two games and in this one they battled Buffalo hard the entire way.

Not saying the outcome of the game was ever in doubt.  UB was in control from the middle of the first half on.  They led by 15 at halftime.  Six minutes into the second half, BG had the lead down to 3.  That didn't happen in Norfolk and Toledo. 

Now, less than 3 minutes after BG had it to 3, UB had gone on a 12-2 run to get it back to 13 with about ten minutes left.  BG got it to 8, 5, and 6 at various times, but each time UB was able to build the lead back up again.  UB went 13-6 in the final 4 minutes to close it out.

So, not the result we wanted.  But I think a sign of progress for our guys.

As noted, UB is the #2 offensive and #2 defensive team n the MAC.  For all that, BG had 1.09 points per possession, which is a representative effort.  The problem is, UB had 1.24 points per possession.  It was a 75 possession game, the fastest game BG has played in MAC play.  As you can see, UB shot the ball great.  That's 48% of their 2FGs and a ridiculous 60% on their 3s.  BG took good care of the ball and did better on the offensive boards and was able to make it a game with an advantage at the FT line.  BG was 25 of 29 while UB was 17 of 22.  BG shot 49% from the 2FG, which isn't awful, but was only 5 of 20 from 3FG, and that was a big issue in the game.

Justin Turner strung together his second strong game.  He scored 23--but it was an 8 of 19 shooting night, with 2 of 6 from 3FG, so not as efficient as in the WMU game.  But you're not going to do that every day.  Wiggins had a 13/15 double-double, shooting 5 of 10.  Derek Koch continues to improve, scoring 12 on 4 of 6 shooting, adding 9 rebounds and 2 assists in 24 minutes.  (He battled some foul trouble in the first half).  Lillard and Frye had 8 on tough shooting nights.

So, that's that.  Standings update tomorrow.  In the meantime, the game against Akron is going to play a big role in whether BG finishes strong and plays at home in March.

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