Sunday, February 10, 2019

Sadness Accures

And sadness falls across the nation.

Don't get me wrong.  If you had told me when this season began that BG would be 16-7 and 8-2, still in first place and fighting for a bye after this game, I would have taken it all day long.  In fact, if you had told me we were going to win 8 conference games period I would have been surprised.  This has been and can continue to be a great season, one for which I am thankful.

We have been winning on shooting, especially from 3FG, and sometimes the shots don't go in.  That was bound to happen.

Just why did it have to be Toledo?

It was a great game and a great atmosphere.  All credit to Toledo.  That's a tough, well-coached team with a bunch of good players.  Even with Sanford slumping, they have guys who pick up the slack.  They're just really good and they earned the win Saturday at the Stroh, in front of that crowd.  You can't take anything away from them, even if it stings to say it.

BG showed a lot of mental toughness, that was lost in the defeat, I think.  BG was down 8 with 10 minutes left and then in the lead with 8 left.  That had happened a couple times.  BG was never able to get the run to go up 8, but they took punches and responded.

Once BG had the lead with 8 left, the two teams settled into an incredibly entertaining battle where it was a one-possession battle one way or the other until the last media time out, when the game was tied at 67...3:34 left.

And here is where the game was decided...obviously.  BG has been very good in these situations this year...locked in, to use Coach's words.  And with that crowd, you'd think you'd be in position to get it done.  Instead, it was the Rockets who dug down and got the gritty win in the key moments of the game.

With 2:11 left, BG was down 1, 70-69.  From there, UT scored the next 8 points to get the win.  That's just a team taking the game.

Frye had missed the backend and UT had the ball.  Darrington drove to the basket for a layup to make it a 3 point lead.  On the other end, BG struggled to find a shot and Frye missed a 3, Sanford cleared the board and Darrington drew a foul and sunk both free throws.  Now, it's 5 points with 1:15 left.

There was one possession you had to have, and it's this one, but Turner missed a 3 and then Plowden had the board and was right on the rim but couldn't get it down and (for my money, and it was right in front of me) Wiggins had a tip at it too (not in the stats though) but it wouldn't go down and UT cleared the rebound but the ball was knocked out.

BG played as good an inbound defense as I have seen them play, forcing UT into 2 timeouts before they could get the ball in.  They eventually did, Knapke was fouled and split his pair.

Down 6 with :32 to play and still with a shot, Frye missed a 3 Darrington was fouled and made both of the FTs and then it was over.

So, what you have there is one team scoring and the other team not scoring in the last 2 minutes.

It stung.  On the post-game, if Coach gave more than a one-sentence response to any of Walker's questions, I would be surprised.

You can find everything you need to know right here.  Coach said it after the game.  BG didn't make shots.  They have relied on 3FG shooting to win.  As I mentioned in the preview, they lead the MAC in 3FG shooting and are last in 2FG shooting.  In this one, they shot 19% from 3FG, which is their worst of the season...and they were only worse than this twice last year.  That percentage is all the more meaningful because BG shot 27 3s, second most for them in MAC play, eclipsed only by the WMU game.

BG did much better inside the arc, shooting 53%.  Having said that, though, the overall mix was toxic.  BG hasn't shot this poorly since Cleveland State.  Meanwhile, UT shot well.  BG defended the 3 pretty well, holding UT to 35% on 29 attempts, but UT made 59% of their 2 FGS--so they won both sides of the shooting battle.

The game was made close because of the turnovers.  BG was +10 on turnovers, and those extra possessions allowed the Falcons to stay in the game.

There's a myth going around that BG lost the rebounding battle.  They did not.  If you just look at bulk rebound numbers, you are often seeing a measure of who faced more shots.  The defense on average gets 2/3s of the rebounds.  So, if your opponent takes a lot of shots, then you are likely to get more rebounds and "win" the rebound battle.  Because of the turnovers, BG tried 9 more FGs than UT did, creating this exact situation.  In fact, BG outrebounded UT, as seen below.

Lastly, UT had an advantage at the line.  Both teams made 14 FTs, but UT tried only 17 and BG tried 22.  That's 64% for BG in a tight game.

In the end, UT had 1.06 points per possession and BG .96.

Dylan Frye led BG with 17 points, but you can guess it was a rough 17.  He shot 6 of 18 and 3 of 11 to get there.  Wiggins had 16 and I thought had one of his better recent games.  I thought he played with more toughness inside, absorbing some contact and getting the ball down.  He shot 7 of 8 from the field, made both his FTs and had 11 rebounds.  He had only 2 turnovers and I don't think Knapke was the force he sometimes can be.  Overall, I felt like Wiggins rallied and played a tough game when he wasn't getting calls.

It was his most FGs in a game since Kent, when he was 8 of 14.  Based on the ORating, it was his best offensive game of the year.

Plowden had 11, including a 3FG to put BG ahead in the second half, a highlight reel Blocked Shot and a highlight reel dunk.  He shot 4 of 8 and 1 of 3 and added 6 rebounds.  Turner had 9 on 4 of 14 and 0 of 7 shooting, so a tough night for him.  Laster is playing very solid ball, he had 9.  Yes, 1 of 7 shooting but he draws fouls and was 7 of 10 at the line.  He also had 4 assists and 0 turnovers.

Anyway, it was a sad ending to the night.  The key now is that BG can't let UT beat them twice, by which I mean they can't carry a hangover into the CMU game Tuesday at the Stroh.  With a win, BG continues to move toward clinching a bye and would remain in first place.  They need to bounce back just as they did from the Miami loss.

1 comment :

Ken said...

A comment and a typo for you.

Comment: 3 or 4 of Turner's shots seemed to 6-8" below the rim only to pop back out. They looked like good shots, just didn't fall. Todd Walker and Kirk Cowan also commented BG has passed the ball around well this year whereas tonight it seemed to be more dribbling and one on one type activity.

Typo, I think: if you had told me we were going to win 8 conference games period I wouldn't have been surprised - did you mean I "would" have been surprised?