Saturday, February 01, 2020

And the beat goes on...

BG won their 8th straight game last night in a huge win at Buffalo, where they had not won in 11 years...BG had lost 9 of 10 to the Bulls during their historic title run.  It was a thriller and a huge win.  BG is now 8-1 and have a two-game lead.  This was a huge win to get on the road.  I think fans be confident now...BG can beat any team in this conference, home or away.

This is, to date, a historically good season for us.  Check out the superlatives below from BGSU.

  • BGSU has won eight-straight conference games for the first time since 1979-80. 
  • All eight games have been won by single digits. The Falcons have won eight-straight games by single digits for the first time in school history. 
  • BGSU has won the eight games by a combined 32 points, marking the lowest combined margin of victory across an eight-game winning streak in the history of the program.
  • For just the second time ever – and first time since 1961-62 – the Falcons have won their first four conference road games. The 1961-62 team lost its fifth road game that year – a 70-59 decision at Toledo – but went on to win a regular-season MAC title with a league record of 11-1.
  • Bowling Green has matched the school record for best MAC start through nine games. The Falcons have started MAC play with an 8-1 record a total of five times, including each of the last two seasons. BGSU has started 8-1 in the MAC in the following seasons: 2019-20; 2018-19; 1982-83; 1979-80; 1961-62.
  • BGSU has won at least 17 of its first 22 games for the first time since 2001-02. Bowling Green has won at least 17 of its first 22 games for just the 10th time in program history.
Enjoy the ride, people.  This is awesome.

This was a tough environment.  There was a good crowd and UB is a good team and plays hard.  In fact, they were fantastic in the first half.  They were making plays on both ends of the floor and had the pace their way...frenetic.  Coach said BG aided their pace by turning the ball over and taking bad shots.  Anyway, it was something to see.  BG did not match up well at that pace--UB had unfettered access to the rim--and BG trailed by 11 at halftime.

Coach said the team had a "nice talk" about playing tougher in the second half.  Better shots, take care of the ball, better transition defense.

And it worked.  If you want to know what makes the win important, it's that BG took a big punch in the first half and responded in the second half, going on a 15-4 run right out of the locker room to tie the game 5 minutes into the half.  From there on in, it was hand to hand combat.  There were three more ties and the lead changed 9 times over those 15 minutes.  It was an incredibly entertaining basketball game.

The last two minutes were downright harrowing.  BG was down 1 with the ball and Justin Turner got into the paint and scored to put BG up 1.  On the next possession, BG hack-a-Davonte'd Jordan, a poor FT shooter.  He missed the FT but UB got the rebound and was fouled again and then they missed the FT again (both 1-1) and BG had the board.  

With 2:04, next possess, Matiss was fouled and split the pait at the line, BG up 2.  With 1:51 left BG got a stop, Matiss got the board and was fouled right away.  He made both FTs this time and BG was up 4.

Graves hit a layup with 1:42 left to cut it to 2 and UB took their last time out.  They transitioned to a press, which BG handled.  They fouled Frye who made both his FTs to make it 4 again.

Just inside a minute, BG had a stop and a possession to lock the thing down, but turned the ball over and UB scored with :44 left to make it 2.

BG ran clock down to :17, when Frye missed a 3.  It's now down to one possession...OK Corrall time.

UB attacked the basket and Matiss fouled Graves, who could tie it with 2 FTs with :07 left.  He made the first and missed the second.  UB got the board, missed another shot and then the ball was knocked out of bounds.  They called it BG ball, which in live time looked wrong to me, then looked at the replay and I don't know how you could tell, but they reversed it and it was UB ball on the baseline with 5 to play.

They got the ball to Graves working against Fields.  Fields played him tough, Graves lost his balance and Fields smothered him immediately.  He launched a desperation 3 which Fields blocked and BG had the win.


And so sweet.

BG won the game two ways...FG shooting and FT shooting.  BG shot only 25% of their FGs from 3FG, their lowest rate of 3FG attempts in MAC play in two years and the lowest this season overall.  BG was 48% on 2FG and 29% on 3FG.  Meanwhile, UB, which tried only 22% of its FGs from 3FG (as noted in my preview), was 45% and 29%.  Close game, that slight difference matters.

I'll tell you what, those were hard-fought baskets at the rim, too.  UB blocked a ridiculous 15 shots...not sure when the last time an opponent did that to us.  Anyway, the other difference was FTs.  BG was 13 out of 17 and UB was only 6 out of 13.

BG had a slight turnover edge...all of which had to counteract UB's offensive rebounding, which was dominant.  That's the best against BG all year.  They had 19 seconds chance points off 24 offensive rebounds, which doesn't seem like very much to me.

Individually, Justin Turner was Justin Turner.  He scored 23 on 10 of 16 from 2FG and 1 of 5 on 3FG.  Some of those hoops were just on dazzling individual efforts.

Dylan Frye had 17...3 of 4 from 3FG but 2 of 10 from 2FG...he was a primary victim of UB's shot blocking.  He made all 4 of his FTs, added 4 rebounds and 3 steals.  The last of those 3FGs set the all-time BG record for 3FGs (previous John Reimold) and will ensure his place as one of BG's best.  The hoop also gave BG the lead.

Plowden had 10 on 4 of 6 shooting and added 6 rebounds.  Perhaps more importantly, after what Coach said was a "nice" halftime talk, he shored up what has been a lagging defensive effort of late and shut Jeenathan Williams down in the second half, holding him to 3 shots.

Tayler Mattos had 10 points in 13 minutes.  Also 4 fouls and 4 rebounds...Coach said he wasn't 100% due to the flu.

BG is getting contributions off the bench and that's so important.  Remember those teams you can't seem to beat...Akron, Kent, UB...players just come at you in waves.  

Mattis had 7 points and 5 rebounds in 20 minutes.  He came to BG and I think we expected a stretch 4 who could shoot from 3 (Euro-style), but he has evolved into a guy who is athletic enough to play the post effectively and with great energy on both ends of the floor, something BG badly needs.

Davin Zeigler is proof of how deep this team is.  When he's on the floor, you can tell he's going to be a player in this conference.

Also, let's not forget Caleb Fields.  He doesn't always put numbers on the stat sheet, but he's vital to this team, especially on the defensive end of the floor.

Anyway, I had heart palpitations just describing that last minute again.  Next up is another road test at CMU...let the beat continue to go on.

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