Sunday, January 20, 2019

Falcon MBB Move to 5-0.

Sequitur et percussio

Nine in a row.  Five in a row in the MAC.  Succeeding at levels not seen here in my lifetime.....MY lifetime, for crying out loud.  This is fun.  Let the beat go on.

There's no other way to put it, but BG dismantled WMU yesterday at the Stroh.  Yes, the Broncos are winless, but they had played Buffalo hard (albeit in Kzoo) and are always competitive.  It simply never was, 78-49.  An amazing result for the Falcons.  This is just not something I had expected to see.

BG led wire to wire.  The Falcons jumped out to a 9-0 lead.  Mid-way through the half BG was up by 3 and with 6 minutes left BG was up 6, 21-15.  Important to note the very low score.  At this point, neither team was scoring--BG was missing a lot of makeable shots.  Anyway, BG started to make their shots and WMU never did.  BG closed out the half 9-2 to lead 30-17.  BG stormed out in the second half, had the lead over 20 by the first media timeout.  From there, the game was never closer than 19 and BG led by as much as 33 in the second half.

In the words of the retiring Marty Brennaman, "haaaaaaaaaaaaave Mercy."

BG held WMU to .67 points per possession, BG's best defensive performance in a D1 game since a December, 2009 game at Fordham.  It's Western's worst offensive game since they played Northwestern in 2013.  BG simply played great defense.  WMU made 39% of their 2 FGs and just 13% of the 3FGs.  They turned the ball over, BG kept them off the boards and did pretty well keeping them off the line.'

One thing that's interesting is steals.  So, it's my theory that steals are more valuable than other turnovers.  I don't have data for that, but when you talk points off turnovers, it seems to be that a dead ball turnover just results in a half-court set, whereas a live ball turnover combines a stop with a transition attempt.  Anyway, BG leads the MAC right now in steals as a percentage of overall possessions (in MAC play), and I think it's noticeable on the floor.

Meanwhile, BG scored 1.11 points per possession, a winnable number on its own.  BG's shooting was below average, at 48% EFG.  That's 42% on 2FG and 41% on 3FG.  To compensate, BG took outstanding care of the ball, their best turnover game of the season.  BG was strong on the offensive boards as well.  Lastly, WMU was 13 of 19 on FTs and BG 12 of 16, so the actual point margin was only 1.

Individually, the really interesting thing is Demajeo Wiggins.  If you had said BG had won five straight in the MAC and Wiggins would have scored 21 points and shot 4 of 24 over the last four of those games, I don't think you'd have thought that was possible.  In the Ball State game, he struggled to score but had 15 rebounds, but in this game he had only 4 rebounds and played only 22 minutes in a game where WMU had a true post threat.

I'm not ripping him, these are just facts.  It's possible he's playing through an injury they are keeping quiet.  Also, there's no doubt that teams are focusing on him with their defense--but he'd always still kept rebounding.

One thing is that if teams are packing in on Wiggins, BG is compensating from the outside, something we did not do consistently when we had inside threats like Calhoun and Holmes in recent years.

Dylan Frye led BG's scoring with 14 points shooting 5 of 12 and 4 of 8 from 3FG.  He also led the team with 7 rebounds and had 5 assists over 0 rebounds.  Justin Turner had 13 on 5 of 13 shooting and 0 of 3 from 3FG.  He added five rebonds and 4 assists.  Caleb Fields had a highly efficient 10, making 4 of 6 and 2 of 3 and added 4 rebounds in 22 minutes.  Antwon Lillard had 10 on 3 of 7 and 1 of 3 shooting and 6 rebounds.   None of the players played their normal minutes due to the big lead.

Next up is EMU, playing a 2-3 zone that has stymied BG in the past.  Coach said after the game that you have to make shots to beat EMU and hopefully we're getting confident enough to make those shots.  Loving it.

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