|Final - 2.11.2012
|Toledo Rockets (11-14, 3-8 MAC)
|Bowling Green Falcons (13-11, 7-4 MAC)
How is this ritual not an always thing? At noon the Rockets and Falcons clashed in women's basketball, with Toledo stealing a home victory from BGSU, who played better for 38 minutes. It would have been very viable for people to leave that game and trek down to Bowling Green and watch the 4 p.m. tilt between the men. Rivals playing each other twice on the same day, one for each sex. It's almost undeniably brilliant.
It worked out for both parties. The UT women won a crucial game against a previously undefeated-in-the-MAC team, and the Falcons survived a game of runs and their own fatal flaws to squeak out a game in front of a record crowd. And I can certainly aver that this might've been the most intense basketball game I've attended in quite some time. Definitely enough that I need to make this its own post. I'm tired, I just want to go to bed ... but I have basketball to discuss, dagnabbit.
For those who know about the "Four Factors" to every basketball game, it should come as no shock that offensive rebounding, effective FG%, free throw rate and turnover rates can tell the entire story of a game. If you didn't know about the four factors, you'd still know that free throws, jumpers, turnovers and rebounding efforts for both teams were so starkly different that it balanced out to be such a competitive game.
eFG%: Toledo 60.9, BGSU 47.6%
Not the hottest-shooting team in the MAC, but Toledo kept themselves in the game — and pulled away — thanks to terrific 3-point shooting. While BGSU failed to hit one in the first half, UT was a scorching 12-for-19 in the game on treys, which accounted for 57% of their points. Notably Curtis Dennis went 5-for-6, Juice Brown was 4-for-8 and Dominique Buckley got things going early with a 2-for-3 day from behind the arc. Weirdly enough Toledo was just 10-for-27 on 2-point shots but the threes were deadly enough to stop all sorts of momentum.
BGSU took 63 shots in the game, but there's a reason for that...
OR%: BGSU 47.5%, Toledo 26.1%
Toledo didn't miss much, but when they did it was usually a one-and-out. They had six total offensive rebounds, less than A`uston Calhoun had (seven). Scott Thomas also brought down five ORs and they had 21 overall which led to 21 second-chance points. Some of it was boxing out, but I could count on perhaps more than one hand Jordon Crawford layups that were wild and off-balance, yet he had a trailer to finish the points. And that's how you get 63 shots in a 40-point game, and win.
TO%: BGSU 17.1%, Toledo 26.8%
I've watched a ton of Toledo games in my lifetime. One thing they've never been able to do well is break a full-court press. Not only did this slow down the pace, but the Falcons gained many a turnover, including some steals and one 10-second violation. It also began to fatigue their guards and you could certainly tell them getting slower in the second half.
FT%: Toledo 15.2%, BGSU 9.5%
The Rockets didn't get to the line much but 7-for-8 was a pretty solid day — and they've been getting much better at the freebies. But the Falcons practically gave this game away thanks to their abhorrent free-throw shooting. Their final percentage: 30 percent, or 6-for-20. You can't win a game unless you make your free throws, conventional wisdom says. Well, they essentially gave away six points. What other theories do you have?
Scott Thomas: 21 points, six rebounds, four steals — he was crucial in the full-court press, and his dribble-drive down the lane gave BG their first lead in the second-half. He made his and-one free throw, too. I know!
A'uston Calhoun: 20 points, 12 rebounds — Tip-ins and a wonderful post-game. He was difficult to defend and he did a wonderful job of anticipating a double-team, then moving away from it, almost having his defender set a screen for him.
Juice Brown: 17 points, 4-for-8 3-pointers, three assists — It wasn't a career high, but as a streaky shooter Toledo was able to ride him at times to a nice lead. He used the high ball screen and popped some shots that just kept inexplicably going in.
Curtis Dennis: 17 points, 5-for-6 3-pointers — I was unaware that he was a perimeter threat, but he also had a miraculous layup and ever since he became eligible to play in the second semester, UT has had that additional offensive weapon for them.
BGSU may have won their last four games against the rival Rockets, but I can tell that Tod Kowalczyk is getting the team closer to being a winner. Right now he turned them from a doormat to a contender. He still has a ways to go, particularly depth and toughness. As for the Falcons' chances to hang in the MAC East ... man, I don't want to jinx anything, but they are right in there, even if they are the fourth- or fifth-best team. That's still saying something.