Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Falcon MBB Wins Again

 BG's MBB team suffered another slow start, but then eventually found their stride and defeated a struggling EMU team.  This is a game that BG should have won and did, by 13 in the end.

It didn't always look that good.  BG has historically struggled against zone defenses, and the first part of the game was no exception.  With 6 minutes left in the first half, (14 minutes and a third of the game), BG was down by 17 points, 29-12.  That's less than a point a minute.

From there, it was all Falcons.  BG went on a 16-2 run to close the half out only down 3, took the lead for good in the first 2 minutes of the second half, had a 10-point lead a couple minutes later and it was off to the races.  For the last 26 minutes of the game, BG outscored them 70-40.

There was one point where it got a little nerve-wracking.  BG was struggling under full-court pressure and also missing FTs and the lead was down to 6 with 2 minutes left.  BG got a couple stops and Fields re-found his FT touch and BG was able to turn the tide back.

One thing I noticed is that BG's defense--which can be hard to watch--seems to pick up when the Falcons go to full-court pressure.  It's the second game in a row where that has seemed to work.  It just seems to get everyone engaged.  It isn't really a press designed to get turnovers but just to slow the other team down and it seems to be good for the defense.

BG had 1.16 points per possession which is a winning number.  BG is 23-2 over the last 3 years when scoring that amount or more.  BG also had a solid defensive effort in the end, holding EMU to .97 points per possession.  BG benefitted from unconscious shooting.  They tried over half of their FGs from 3FG--the first time that's happened in a MAC game since the "suspension" game against OU in 2017.  BG also made 48% of them, their best in a MAC game this year.  BG turned the ball over more than normal, but got some help on the offensive boards and got to the line 21 times, all in the second half.  BG struggled, only making 13 of the FTs.

EMU didn't have a terrible shooting night, but they turned the ball over more and did nothing on their offensive boards.  Their mix of shots was heavily weighted toward 2FG and they only made 50% of those.  That's right on the MAC average, but in today's game if you are going to focus on getting to the basket you need to score more than that or get to the line, which also didn't happen.

On an individual basis, you only need to say "Kaden Metheny."  He was just unconscious from 3FG and helped BG shoot over that zone.  He made 8 of 14 3FGs.  The school record is 9 by Jay Larranaga.  He finished with 29 points, his second-straight 20 point game after struggling during BG's losing streak. Remember, he's a FR, so you do get some ups and downs.  I think he's going to be a good one.

Caleb Fields was in triple-double territory.  He had 13 points, 10 rebounds, 7 assists and 1 turnover.

Justin Turner had 13 and had to work for it.  He was 2-9 on 2FG attempts.  He did have 6 rebounds, 4 assists and 5 steals over 2 turnovers, so there were other contributions.

Plowden also had 13 on 3 of 7 and 2 of 5 shooting and 9 rebounds.  Diggs had 10 and 6 rebounds, making 2 of 3 from 3FG.

BG moves to 9-7 in the MAC and still in 6th place.  There's a big one Friday, as BG takes on Akron.  The Zips are currently #2 in the MAC and beat BG by 12 in their last meeting.  It will be an excellent test as BG prepares to win the kind of game they will need to win in the MAC tourney.

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