Hot shooting will cure anything. It is like basketball's miracle drug: you cannot beat a team that does not miss shots. As Coach Orr has pointed out, though I have not heard him say it in a long time, you can't let your shooting percentage determine your winning percentage. In other words, you won't shoot like this very often, you need things that can you can do to win every night.
So in this game, Morehead was probably a little better than BG in most facets of the game, yet BG rode very hot outside shooting to take a comfortable win at the Stroh, 73-60.
I actually think Morehead is a really well-coached team. They had clearly seen the OU game tape, and used many of the same tactics against the Falcons: packing the inside to try and keep Calhoun from getting points, and then running pressure man defense on Jordan Crawford to attempt to force turnovers. Sometimes they even jumped in a double-team on Crawford.
Anyway, Morehead lost their two best players from last year and they lost their best player at mid-year, and they are still a competitive team. I was impressed with their team.
So with the inside packed, BG had to go outside for points. When they did that in Athens, guys got their points, but it took a lot of shots. Yesterday, that stuff was just falling into the basket.
BG just isn't a three-point shooting team. In 12 of our 26 games to date, we have made four or five threes in a game. We had only made 10 in a game once, and that was at Kent.
Against Morehead BG made 14 threes in 26 attempts. And that is basketball's miracle cure.
It was just short of the school record set in 1989 against Siena, and by far the most threes made in the Orr Era at Bowling Green.
Another note: normally, if BG gets threes, it is on an inside out play, which is the way Coach Orr wants to play. In this case, it was different, BG was rotating the ball around the perimeter to find the player who was open.
Scott Thomas had a career night in all this luxurious shooting. Thomas scored 28 points (career high) on 8-of-15 shooting, to go with 4 assists, 4 rebounds and 3 steals. He started the game incredibly hot, making three treys in the first four minutes of the game, and never really cooled off too much.
Dee Brown joined in with three bombs in five attempts and Jordan Crawford had three bombs in four attempts.
That left BG with an effective field goal percentage of 71, which is just incredibly high. (Remember, EFG% counts threes as 1.5 baskets in order to give a true productivity per shot). In fact, the last time BG had a higher EFG% was, and this is freaky, the last time we played Morehead in the BracketBuster. Which is weird, I think they are a good defensive team, so I am chalking that up to an odd coincidence.
So, when you shoot that well, you end up with 1.21 points per possession. Here's where being tempo-free really matters, because we identified in the pregame that Morehead plays at a world-class slow pace, and in fact there were only 60 possessions in the game.
Beyond shooting, BG played a pretty average game. BG had 17 turnovers (in 60 possessions), allowed Morehead to shoot 48 percent (53 percent effective), and BG got to the line for only four free throws. BG was poor on its own defensive boards but even poorer at getting offensive rebounds for itself.
Yet, the miracle salve -- all those threes -- cured those ills.
A couple of other notes. BG had 21 assists, which is pretty good. Sometimes, I'm not sure about assists. But, I know that when you are rotating the ball around the perimeter and hit a guy who nails a catch and shoot, you get a three, and I'm not sure it represented the world's greatest pass and it might have been the world's easiest pass. Jordan Crawford had 12 assists.
Defenses focused on A'uston Calhoun and it worked for the second straight game. Calhoun had 5 points with 5 rebounds and 5 turnovers.
Our other big man, Cam Black, actually had some very productive minutes in the second half. Twice, earlier in the game, he had left the floor, only to be greeted by Coach Orr, armed with emphatic gestures. But he finished with five rebounds and three blocked shots and I saw a couple of instances where players were driving to the hoop only to be met by the big fella, and then (beep beep beep) they backed up again.
So, BG moves to 14-12 on the season. The BracketBuster provided the Falcons with an opportunity to get some momentum heading into the final conference swing, and a win toward a .500 season.
Wednesday is about as tough as it can get...the top team in the MAC, the Akron Zips, in the JAR. BG will be big underdogs. On the other hand, it was a late season upset at the JAR (miracle shot, Brian Moten) that led BG to the regular season title in Coach Orr's second year, so who knows?
at BOWLING GREEN 73, MOREHEAD STATE 60 02/18/2012
MOREHEAD STATE 15-14 (8-6) -- T. Proffitt 7-12 3-4 18; A. Warner 1-3 4-4 6; L. Austin 2-4 0-0 6; D. Mathieu 0-1 0-2 0; M. Holden 2-6 0-0 5; M. Chavis 2-6 2-3 6; D. Kelly 6-9 0-1 12; D. Atkinson 2-4 0-0 5; J. Percell 1-2 0-0 2; W. Bailey 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 23-48 9-14 60. BOWLING GREEN 14-12 (7-5) -- S. Thomas 10-18 0-0 28; D. Brown 8-11 0-0 19; J. Crawford 3-6 0-0 9; A. Calhoun 2-4 1-2 5; C. Black 1-3 0-0 2; T. Oglesby 3-3 0-0 6; C. Sealey 0-1 0-0 0; A. Henderson 0-0 0-0 0; J. Clarke 1-2 2-2 4; C. Orr 0-1 0-0 0; J. Erger 0-0 0-0 0; A. Ferrell Jr. 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 28-49 3-4 73.
Three-point goals: MORE 5-14 (T. Proffitt 1-3; L. Austin 2-3; M. Holden 1-5; D. Mathieu 0-1; D. Atkinson 1-1; A. Warner 0-1), BGSU 14-26 (S. Thomas 8-15; J. Crawford 3-4; D. Brown 3-5; J. Clarke 0-1; C. Orr 0-1); Rebounds: MORE 23 (M. Chavis 6), BGSU 25 (A. Calhoun 5); Assists: MORE 11 (L. Austin 4), BGSU 21 (J. Crawford 12); Total Fouls -- MORE 10, BGSU 16; Fouled Out: MORE-None; BGSU-None.