Sunday, March 01, 2020

Oxford Blues

Woof.  We are having a great men's basketball season.  Yesterday is a game we want to forget. It was very ugly and very disappointing, given the match-up and what is at stake.

I'm not particularly discouraged.  Things like this can happen.  You would like for them not to happen, but sometimes they do.  But, as Herb Brooks said once, "a loss never hurts a good team."  We can still finish first and we will be in the top 2 and we will play in Cleveland.  If we are the team we think we are...we'll bounce back Tuesday.  If this loss turns into more, then we aren't a championship team.

As an example, I give you Akron, who lost to us handily the other night and was on the road playing a good UB team and Akron was without their #2 scorer.  Akron picked up a tough road win.

Tuesday will be our turn, in a tough Kent environment against a team that handed us a bad defeat at home to start the MAC season.

Frankly, with 11 minutes left in the second half, this game seemed to be a typical Falcon game.  Miami had led by 10 early on but the game normalized and it was a 2-point deficit at halftime.  BG continued to nip at their heels in the second half and I wasn't that concerned because this was feeling like what normally happens.

BG took the lead for the first time with 11 minutes left in the game.  We were up 53-51.  And for the next 11 minutes, more than 25% of a game, Miami outscored BG 22-2 and won by 18.  BG did not make a FG in that 11 minutes...2 Justin Turner FTs provided all of the offense.  It was a spectacular, mind-blowing catastrophe. If you're going to do it, go all the way.

I mean, you take a lead and then go 11 minutes without a FG.  It's just unbelievable and was awful to watch.

Coach said after the game that we didn't defend the way we wanted, which is the normal answer.  Also, he said we missed too many open shots, which was also the problem in the Akron loss.  As we look at our team, it is worth noting that we are not a great shooting team.  We are #8 in the MAC, #6 from 3FG and #10 from 2FG.  Despite this, we are #4 in offensive efficiency overall due to creating extra possessions with turnovers (#1 in not turning it over) and offensive rebounds (#5).  And, while we aren't great at getting to the line, we are #4 in FT%.

Keep that in mind for a second.

The stats are below.  It's a painful look.  I talked about pace in the preview, and it went Miami's way at 67 possessions.  BG had .82 points per possession, more or less what they produced in the first Akron game.  BG did not shoot well, 42% from 2FG and 30% from 3FG.  Still, BG is 3-4 when they shoot worse than this...they do win games.

One key is not turning the ball over.  It was BG's worst turnover game of the MAC season, but the trend has been worrisome.  With our average shooting, we have to take care of the ball...that was the formula.  I wonder if it's time to get Dylan back into playing more minutes.

Also, we had our worst offensive rebounding game in two seasons.  We had a decent day getting to the line and finished 12 of 15.

Meanwhile, Miami didn't shoot great.  They made 26% of their 3FGs, but 51% of their 2FGs...and they tried 70% of their FGs from 2FG.  Obviously, they didn't turn the ball over--BG does not force turnovers, last in the MAC--and they were good on their offensive boards and make all 15 of their FTs.

This chart is an ugly thing.

Daeqwon Plowden was a rock for us.  He scored 26 points on 7 of 11 shooting and 3 of 6 from 3FG, added 11 rebounds and was 9-9 at the line. He's an extremely versatile, capable player and we are lucky to have him.  Credit to him for improving in his time here and to the coaches for bringing him along.  I think we are doing a good job developing players.

Everyone else, pretty much, had a forgettable night.  We had five players with multiple turnovers.  I don't like to pick at the players who don't play well, you can look it up if you're curious.  It was everyone else...and it was a team defeat...we weren't close to winning and it shows in the stats.

So on we go.  I am sure the guys are looking forward to getting back on the floor Tuesday.

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