Saturday, November 23, 2019

Falcons Top 'Toppers (1/2)

Since the schedule came out, I have been pointing to this game...WKU is a very good team...they'd be a competitor for the MAC Title, they have an outstanding big man who is going to play in the NBA and they have a winning tradition.  Playing them on a neutral floor was always going to be a big test and one to look forward to.  It's a game that the best team in the MAC should be able to win.

And BG prevailed.  It was a great game--a great game--and a thriller right down to the end.  BG absorbed a lot of blows, kept the game in touch and then made the right charge at the right time...and I believe taking advantage of superior depth to be strong at the end of the game.

Everyone's phrase last night was that it was a game of runs.  It certainly was.  After some initial skirmishing, BG went on a 14-0 run to take a 14-point lead mid-way through the first half.  WKU fought right back with a 26-5 run to lead by 7 with 2 minutes left in the half.  They led by 7 with a minute left and then BG went on a 6-0 run in the last minute to trail by one.  Note the previous comment about depth...and, the last basket was Justin Turner scoring with :01 left.  Crazy.

On to the second half.  BG came out hot and had a 5-point lead 3 minutes in.  Over the next five minutes, WKU went on a 18-6 run to lead by 7.  At that point, it was 62-55.

Here's what you are looking for.  How does BG respond?  In the past, we have struggled in situations like this.  Good teams run right back up the hill in the face of the headwind.  BG scored the next 6 points to take the lead again with 10 left.

But it wasn't done.  WKU led by 7 again with 5 minutes left.  You start to think, do we have the legs to close a gap like that again?  

So note was 74-67 at that point.

WKU has two shots at the basket to extend the lead but BG gets the stop, Plowden with the board.

Frye for 3.  74-70 with 3:47 left.

Bassey turns it over and Fields scores, 74-72 with 3:01 left.

Then a point of high frustration.  BG gets 3 straight stops and has the ball three times with a one-possession deficit and fails to get a point.  You're just thinking, that's when you gotta be able to get a basket every time.

Frye fouled WKU and they are in the one-and-one and make the first but miss the second.  Now 75-72 with :41 left and it's not looking good.

BG comes down, Turner misses up close but BG is swarming the boards, gets 2 offensive rebounds and Fields ends up with the tip in and it's 75-74 with :12 left.

Here's a key point.  BG had bad foul issues in the first half.  Most of the team had 2 fouls.  That had been cleaned up and WKU was still in the 1-1 with :12 left.  How often do you see that?

So BG has to foul and they do.  WKU misses the front end, Justin Turner takes the board and he heads straight down the court and hits one of those patented floater shots and BG had the lead and WKU was unable to get anything done and the Falcons had the victory.  (More on Justin Turner later....I mean THIS GUY!)

So, with 5 minutes left, it was 74-67.  WKU scored ONE POINT in the last five minutes.  And BG scored 8.  In a game of runs, BG had the decisive one.

More on the numbers, but all credit to the team.  They delivered like a team that is building on last year and not leaving it as a fluke.  Very proud of our program.  Next up is a big challenge...UC...a team currently ranked ahead of LSU.  But, neutral floor...

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