Wednesday, February 07, 2018

Falcon MBB loses buzzer beater at Ball State

Even though BG lost last night in Muncie, I'm going to chart that game on the plus side of this team's progress towards competing for a top spot in the MAC.

Playing without Demajeo Wiggins against an up-and-down Ball State team that was 10-1 at home and good enough to beat UT in Savage, the Falcons took the game down to the final possession before Tayler Persons drilled a 3-FG with less than a second left to give Ball State the 59-56 win.  In fact, on the second-to-last possession, Dylan Frye had the ball halfway down on a three before it spun out, so that's how close it was.

All told, I count it as a success.  Earlier this year, BG struggled with battling adversity.  For the second straight week, they battled through this one and nearly pulled out what would have been a really big win.  Even so, I continue to be encouraged.  What you want is to see the young team get better.  Hopefully, that's what's going on, even if there might be a relapse along the way.

BG had a six-point halftime lead and led for the first 16 minutes of the 2nd half.  BG led 53-51 at that point, and BSU went on a modest 8-3 run to get the win.  BG made only one basket in the last 4 minutes and none in the last two minutes.

As you can see from the score, it was not much of an offensive basketball game.  BG has .81 points per possession, which is their second-worst next to ODU.  However, BG held Ball state to .85 points per possession, which is the best since the NIU win a month or so ago.  The game was played at 69 possessions, which is slower than BG likes.  With all the misses and good BG rebounding, you didn't see the Falcons take advantage of the opportunity to get into transition, which is what they want to do.  Sometimes, teams will not crash the boards hard and defend against the break instead, (a favorite Charlie Coles strategy) so maybe that's what he was up to.

BG also didn't get fouled.  They had a season-low 5 FT attempts, something which has been a trend.

That, and Ball State's slightly better shooting was the difference.  Both teams struggled to take care of the ball.

Antwon Lillard, who continues to play well, led BG with a double-double, 15 and 10.  That came on 6 of 12 and 2 of 5 shooting.  Dylan Frye, who has been slumping badly, had 14 points on 5 of 14 and 2 of 7 shooting, but good to see him fighting to get back into the groove.  Justin Turner had 9 on a rough 4 of 14 shooting.  Derek Koch had 10 rebounds in 27 minutes before fouling out with 5 or so to play.

On a usage note, BG's two true PGs, Cummings and Caldwell, played a collective 24 minutes.

Eastern is next on Saturday at the Stroh.  Let's hope for a nice crowd and a big W for the boys to keep the mo going.


Ken said...

Thanks. Why was Wiggins out for the game?

Orange said...

Sorry should have mentioned it. He’s injured but does not sound serious