Saturday, February 23, 2019

Defeat at the Convo

So, the story isn't too complicated.

BG went down to Athens to play a team that had lost six straight and was stinging from a program-worst defeat to Buffalo on Tuesday.  Despite all that, they had 6,000+ in the Convo and got the place rocking like the old days.

Meanwhile, BG decided to "leave the defense in Bowling Green" in Coach Huger's words, and revert to some bad habits on offense down the stretch, and the combination of all that was a 92-87 defeat in OT for the Falcons.

It was certainly frustrating to watch.

Having said that, I cannot understand getting upset with the guys.  Unless I misread it, after Tuesday they were the only team in our program's history to be 11-2 in MAC play.  The ONLY one.  They certainly played poorly--their worst since December 5--but keep that in perspective, too.

Their worst since December 5.

Lastly, I remind you of the words of The Late Evil Genius, Charlie Coles, after BG beat Miami when BG was at home on a 7-game losing streak and Miami was in 1st place...the Cole Magner game...

“I think their need for a win was far more than our need for a win,” Miami coach Charlie Coles said. “We came in here in first place and they had lost seven games in a row, so there is no way you can have kids as hungry as their kids were.”
It happens.  Here's the thing.  It can also be a springboard.  You see that all the time.  Team loses a game like this, refocuses and brings it home toward the end.  Whether that happens remains to be seen, but plenty of teams have made good use of a loss like this.  We're still on track for a bye, and could possibly clinch it today with other losses, so let's just have a cup of coffee and look forward to Tuesday.

If you watched the game, your eyes did not deceive you.  BG played poorly, especially on defense.  They allowed 1.13 points per possession to the worst offensive team in the MAC.  No way to minimize that, it was not good.  It was BG's worst defensive performance since the Cleveland State game, and to be candid this felt as frustrating as that.  Over the past five years, BG has won only 5 D1 games allowing 1.13 or more.  It's a losing performance.

OU had an EFG% of 64%, which is the most allowed by BG this year.  They shot 59% from 2FG and 50% from 3FG.  You just won't win that way. That's their second-worst against the 2FG and 3rd worst against the 3FG this year.  It actually could have been worse.  OU is the worst FT shooting team in the MAC and got to the line 32 times and only made 19.

BG's offense was reasonable, at 1.07 points per possession.  It is the best offense BG has played in a losing effort this season.  Yes, BG shot poorly, with 46% EFG (ok from 2FG--50%--but terrible from 3FG), but took excellent care of the ball, did a good job on offensive rebounding and made 20 of 29 from the line.  Odd as it might seem, BG wins with numbers like that, even if they aren't ideal.

Individually, there are a few things.

First, Wiggins went over 1,000 rebounds, giving him 1,000 rebounds and 1,000 points for his career.  Dylan Frye also became BG's 47th player to score 1,000 points.  Congrats to them both and more on that kind of stuff tomorrow.

Wiggins had his best offensive game in MAC play, scoring 20 on 7 of 9 shooting.  He also made 6 of 8 FTs, added 14 rebounds and only 2 turnovers.

Dylan Frye scored 18, though it required a high volume of shots. He shot 7 of 18 and 3 of 10.  Justin Turner also had a rough night, scoring 15 but on 5 of 17 and 1 of 4 shooting with 5 rebounds, 3 assists and 4 turnovers.  I felt like Kirk really played Justin tough.

Antwon Lillard had 14, same story though, shooting 3 of 7 and 2 of 6, though he did make a couple key 3s in the second half.  He added 5 rebounds.

Caleb Fields had 10 points, shooting 4 of 9 and 0 of 4, but adding 5 steals.  Young man is going to be a very solid player in our program if we can continue to develop him.

Plowden added 6 rebounds in 20 minutes.

So, that's that.  A tough night all around at the Convo.  What can't happen is losing this game twice.  BG has bounced back well, and we'll look to see that again on Tuesday at the Stroh.

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