Saturday, November 09, 2019

Falcons Battle Hard, Lose at LSU

It was a strong effort, just not enough to get BG the big upset win.  Even so, they stuck with a top-25 team on the road and had their chances...and I think the result validates our hopes for this season.  Time will tell all on that and the results won't lie, but I'm overall encouraged.

Also Dylan Swingle.  More later.

BG came out strong and actually led 20-15 with 12 left in the first half.  Alas, BG went into an awful cold streak with the shot, allowing LSU to score 19 straight points over 6 minutes.  With 4 minutes left they were up 39-24...and this is a point of maximum danger.  Last 4 minutes of a half, on the road, on your back foot...there's a shot you end up over 20 at the half.

But that didn't happen.  BG punched back with a 12-4 run to get the lead back to 7, gave up an unfortunate and-one in the last seconds and went to the locker room down 10, but still in the game.

BG continued the momentum in the second half, going on a 10-5 run to get the lead to 5 with the ball about five minutes in.  BG missed on their next possession and LSU scored the next 8 points to go back up over 10.  It stayed over 10 from about 12 minutes to 5 minutes, when Plowden hit a 3FG to get BG within 8.  BG needed a stop, but instead Dylan Frye fouled out on the next possession and LSU was off and running, stretching the lead back up to 13 with 3 minutes left.

BG continued to battle, getting the lead back inside of 10 points a couple of times, but LSU always responded with points and that was the end of it.  A final of 88-79, with BG outscoring LSU in the second half.

Again, there are no moral victories.  But BG didn't quit, didn't turn on themselves as they have done in the past, and they punched back in a difficult environment.  LSU is just better than us.

So, first of all, the game was played at 80 possessions, which is a FAST game.  BG played only 2 D1 games faster than that last year.  I'd say the numbers show us that BG's offense was the largest reason the Falcons didn't get the win.  To be sure, LSU got 1.1 points per possession, which is higher than we would like.  Still, I'll bet they finish the season over that level.

BG had .99 points per possession, which is below the NCAA average and rarely a winnable number.  BG was 1-9 last year when scoring .99 points per possession or less.  BG had an EFG of 41%, which would be among their five worst shooting performances last year.  BG made only 25% of its 2 FGS, which is just awful.  You have to go back to the Duquesne game in 2010 to find a worse 2FG shooting game, and that team was on its way to 14-19.

BG's 3FG shooting was 40%, which is above average and a good number in today's game.

BG stayed in the game despite this shooting by taking great care of the ball, with turnovers on just 11% of its possessions.  When looking at rebounding, this is a good example of how tempo-free stats give a clearer picture.  On the totals, LSU outrebounded BG significantly, but that's because BG missed so many shots they were able to rack up bushels of boards.  BG actually won the rebounding battle narrowly, which also bodes well.

As you can see, LSU got to the line a lot, which is often the sign of a team that's overmatched.  LSU got to the line and made shot 34 FTs, making 27 for 79%.  BG was 17 of 21 for 81%, also helping the Falcons stay in the game.

LSU shot well, as you can see.  They made 51% on 2FGs and 39% on 3FG, both above average numbers.  However, they turned the ball over too much and didn't have a great day on the boards, keeping them from converting their good FG and FT shooting into a really big offensive night.

Individually, Justin Turner certainly proved he can play at this level.  He scored 26 on 10 of 19 and r4 of 7 shooting, a highly efficient night.  Also, 6 boards, 3 assists and 3 steals.  Caleb Fields had 17 on 4 of 10 and 4 of 7, a solid offensive night.  Dylan Frye had a less efficient 15 points, on 5 of 16 and 2 of 9 shooting, though he also had 5 assists.

Taylor Mattos had 12 rebounds in 20 minutes of play.  He's not doing much on the offensive end, but he is providing rebounding the team badly needs.

With Fields back, neither Ziegler nor Chandler Turner appeared in the game.

But you know who did appear?  Dylan Swingle.  BG actually had the NCAA Star Chamber/Magic 8-ball belch out a favorable decision, and Dylan will begin one of his four seasons at BG now.

It's pretty big.  Coach has really been talking him up, and he clearly steps in at the team's biggest open area.  He only played 6 minutes (in his college debut), but as that ratchets up, I think there's reason to think BG can have a really solid post presence with Swingle and Mattos.  I think Swingle increases BG's shot at making the NCAAs significantly, but time will tell.

BG now travels to Miami to play Jacksonville, a game scheduled to prove that we will get you a game in your hometown if you play for us.  We should look for BG to win that one on a neutral floor

Meanwhile, BG will not play another road game until January 11.


joel said...

Per Monday's game, I still want to know why BG couldn't schedule a game versus Miami instead with a payday of probably $50K instead of having to pay Jacksonville and rent facilities in Miami. This is a Kingston-sequel move.

Orange said...

The answer is that they thought of that and Miami and FIU wouldn’t play us. I know, you’d think we could get Miami to help us out, but no. This is clearly an odd arrangement that was only chosen as a last resort.