A night like this, of course, is what keeps us coming back. When, after weeks of up and down play, win at home, lose on the road, when after all that your team comes onto the floor and out of nowhere plays their best game of the season (or maybe second best) and pulls of a huge, emphatic win over one of the conference's top teams...yeah, that's the stuff. It was just one of those great nights...a great night to be a Falcon. More later, but it was simply a great victory for our team, who played hard, gritty, got contributions up and down the lineup. Everyone on our team should be satisfied with their performance tonight....
The first thing I think about from the game is that Scott Thomas was a warrior tonight. We're only going to see him play one or two more times on our home court, and I know that he has been so steady that it has been possible to forget about him completely. He doesn't have senioritis...he's finishing fast and strong. Against Kent last night he had 21 points, 6 of 10 from beyond the arc, a team high 7 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals and a blocked shot. But you're not a warrior just for numbers...Thomas was a presence on both ends of the floor. At least a couple of his rebounds were ripped from the hands of Kent players. It was probably the best performance by a Falcon this season. Let us appreciate.
BG played solid, winning basketball for almost the entire game. BG went up 5-0 and then Kent went on a 12-2 run and you could start to feel them asserting themselves, but BG turned it back. BG took a 30-27 lead with 6:05 left and never trailed again. For most of the first 10 minutes of the second half, the lead was hovering in the 5-8 range, and then with 9:00 BG got two fastbreak DUNKS from (one each, Calhoun and Oglesby) to put the lead at 10 for the first time.
I've been writing here there comes a time in the game when you have to make plays...not all plays are equal...sometimes one play rings huge. Tonight, BG made those plays. With about seven minutes left, Kent had it down to six again, and Oglesby made an old school 3 and then a MONSTER dunk on an offensive rebound (consecutive possessions) to put BG up 11. It was never within single digits again and the Falcons ended up with a stunning 16 point victory.
Our preview said the key was defense. Kent is the best offensive team in the MAC. Last night at the Stroh, Kent had .84 points per possession, their second worst performance of the season and the worst in MAC play. (Only Cleveland State held them to lower efficiency.) It was defense built on Kent shooting 46% (which is pretty good) but only 4 of 14 from beyond the arc, and they hit a couple early meaning they were held very cold for much of the game.
BG forced a team that does not turn the ball over often to turn it over on 30% of their possessions, and that combined with the shooting issues made it difficult for Kent to score. They also did not get to the line and only got 27% of their available offensive rebounds.
Meanwhile BG had 1.07 points per possession. BG didn't dominate Kent in any one facet, but beat them in nearly all of them. Except for FTs, all the key factors went BG's way. BG shot 54% with an eFG% of 62%, which is pretty good. The Falcons had a lot of turnovers, too, so that didn't help, but they had fewer than Kent, and that was a key factor.
For BG, the key was that they got contributions from a number of guys. We've already talked about Thomas, but add in...
Calhoun, 17 points on 8 of 11 shooting and 4 rebounds in 25 minutes. Oglesby, 15 points, 5 rebounds and 2 blocks in 20 minutes. Oh and 7-8 shooting. Crawford, 8 points and 6 assists (4 TOs). Sealey, 6 points, 3 rebounds and 3 steals in 12 minutes. Jehvon Clarke, 3 rebounds and 3 assists in 7 minutes. Even Cam Black, who did not even shoot once, had 3 blocks and 3 steals in 20 minutes and appears to be an increasing force on the defensive end.
In particular, BG did a great job with Kent's very strong guard corps. Yes, Guyton had a big night, but Porrni and Holt did not do serious damage to the Falcons.
And so it goes. BG wins a huge game at the Stroh. It was a very great night to be a Falcon. Nights like this, especially late in the season, are like oxygen. Because when you see our guys play like this, you think to yourself, "why not us, why not now" (to steal a quote from a former Falcon coach). If the Falcons are this solid and can string those kind of performances together, they can compete with anyone in our league.
Yes, I know. BG has yet to do that all year. But this! They haven't done this since the Temple game. It has happened before....a team finds its confidence late and makes a run. This Falcon team has teased us this year, and I think we have always hoped we were better than we were showing. Here's the thing. You only have to be good now for six, maybe five games.
It is a good time of year.
at BOWLING GREEN 74, KENT STATE 58 02/25/2012
KENT STATE 19-9 (9-5) -- C. Guyton 7-13 2-3 17; M. Porrini 2-6 0-0 5; J. Greene 6-13 4-6 16; R. Holt 3-8 0-0 8; J. Manns 3-4 2-2 8; C. Evans 2-2 0-0 4; E. Gaines 0-1 0-0 0; M. Henniger 0-0 0-0 0; P. Jackson 0-2 0-0 0; K. Brewer 0-0 0-0 0; D. Manley 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 23-50 8-11 58. BOWLING GREEN 15-13 (8-6) -- S. Thomas 7-12 1-2 21; D. Brown 3-11 1-2 7; J. Crawford 3-9 0-0 8; A. Calhoun 8-11 0-1 17; T. Oglesby 7-8 1-1 15; C. Black 0-0 0-0 0; C. Sealey 3-6 0-2 6; J. Clarke 0-0 0-0 0; C. Orr 0-0 0-0 0; J. Erger 0-0 0-0 0; A. Henderson 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 31-57 3-8 74.
Three-point goals: KENT 4-14 (M. Porrini 1-3; R. Holt 2-5; C. Guyton 1-5; D. Manley 0-1), BGSU 9-18 (S. Thomas 6-10; A. Calhoun 1-2; J. Crawford 2-4; D. Brown 0-2); Rebounds: KENT 23 (J. Greene 6), BGSU 29 (S. Thomas 7); Assists: KENT 13 (R. Holt 4), BGSU 18 (J. Crawford 6); Total Fouls -- KENT 12, BGSU 11; Fouled Out: KENT-None; BGSU-None.