New Years Day Overtime Win: UTSA 86 BG 79

Antonio Daniels is the enemy. At least on this day.

I didn’t notice him until I was walking up to the Convocation Center and saw him take a look at me and then at the Woman. I thought “That dude looks like Antonio Daniels – wait that IS Antonio Daniels.”

It wasn’t until confirming via Wikipedia that he did, in fact, have a rooting interest in the game. Bowling Green is his alma mater. He won MAC player of the year in 1997, taken 4th overall by the then Vancouver Grizzlies and traded to the Spurs. I forget the details of that trade and Wikipedia doesn’t go into more detail so that’s where I’ll leave it.

How about that game? I didn’t know much about Bowling Green coming in. Make that nothing. They played hard, and are extremely athletic. Jordan Crawford is a tiny little guy –one of the four shortest guards in the nation—but plays really big. Much like Mike Hale, he makes up for his height disadvantage by having tremendous hops. There were a couple plays where he drove the lane, climbed the trees and laid the ball in at the rim over Alex Vouyoukas. I like his game.

I also like Bowling Green after that performance. They attack the basket aggressively. Every one of their dudes wanted the ball and looked to score when they got it.
Watching our guys attempt to work their zone defense and then the Falcons attack ours the correct method was obvious. They swung the ball around the court with authority and a crispness and dribble drove with a decisiveness that we lacked.

Torian Oglesby and A’uston Calhoun thoroughly outplayed Jeromie Hill and Alex Vouyoukas. I can’t get mad at our guys for it or anything. They Falcons big men are a scary combination of skill and jumping ability. When I say that BGSU guys wanted the ball and looked to score I mean Calhoun in particular and Oglesby by example. Whereas Alex manned the free-throw line against the Falcon zone and perfunctorily called for the ball –and when if he got it he immediately looked to pass it – A’uston Calhoun looked to score from that same spot against ours.

Now this may be their offense. Judging by their stats, Calhoun and Alex are not the same player and obviously fill different roles for their teams. I know it, but I can’t help but feel a little jealous of it.
I’ve mentioned before that this game is all about easy shots and rhythm. When you have your big guys getting dunks and lay-ins it creates open looks for shooters. That is basic basketball. Torian Oglesby dominated. Bowling Green looked to exploit the athletic advantage early by looking for lobs over the outstretched arms of Vouyoukas and Hill often. Even when we knew it was coming, it was unguardable. If you want to know how 5’-4’’ Jordan Crawford got so open for shots, now you know. With their twin big men so dangerous in the paint, either over the top or from a simple entry pass, we started hedging. It only took a couple of skip passes to find a wide-open shooter.

How in the hell did we win this thing, then? Well, we won it the way we win all our games. We turned them over and shot the three well and killed it from the line. Oh and Mike Hale and Stephen Franklin were balling.
I’ll go ahead and give credit to the coaching staff for it but I’m sure Torian Oglesby getting all 20 of his points from thundering put-backs or lobs that may have fired up our Runners. Whatever the impetus, I’m thankful for it. Mike Hale, for all his quickness and toughness just doesn’t have the size to score consistently when he drives the lane. When he is getting calls, he is awesome. When he isn’t – well he gets bumped. Franklin? He is listed at 6’-6’’ 205lbs. When he drives he can dish out punishment while absorbing contact. That means we get some three-point plays and fouls drawn on their big guys. It was awesome to see him do just that when we needed it. During the Bowling Green run to briefly take the lead, we took hesitant dribbles into the zone — wishing we could just shoot the jumper instead of driving to the rim. Stephen took it to the rack and good things happened.

It is that simple. Going forward, we need more of what won the game in overtime. The recaps will list the two huge shots Mike Hale and Melvin Johnson hit to ice the game. They won’t tell you that they were in rhythm with the defense on their heels protecting against a drive to the basket that Stephen Franklin and Mike Hale established ten minutes earlier.

I don’t know how you make that happen. Maybe it is more timely substitutions like the one Brooks Thompson made when –trying to stem the Falcon run—he subbed in Tyler Woods for Vouyoukas. Alex was running his lanes and doing all those things he is supposed to do but not with the aggressiveness and desire that was needed to be effective against Calhoun and Oglesby. Tyler, in the highlight of his three minutes on the floor sprinted down the court, received a freaking awesome one handed bounce pass from Mike Hale and finished at the rim and drew the foul.

We don’t need big guys that dunk the ball on the break with their heads above the rim (which Torian Oglesby did often) we just need guys to run hard and score within two feet.

Also of note:

Iggy Nujic played well. By that I mean he looked to score and did good things when he filled in. I don’t think he did what he was asked to do because the staff didn’t look to happy with him very often.

Kannon Burrage was a no-show. Twenty one minutes and five points and only two shots. His free throws came late when BGSU needed to foul.

Jeromie Hill was battling and showed tons of effort. He was just beaten to the rebounds by more athletic guys sometimes. He did very Jeromie Hill type things like shoot the three, grab rebounds, and score inside.
Franklin also grabbed eleven boards – big time stuff.

Torian Oglesby went 10-10 from the floor. His field goal percentage is something like .900 this season. Apparently his 26 consecutive made field goals are a record.

Oglesby dunking over two 6’9’’ dudes during midnight madness at BGSU

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Editor extraordinaire, UTSA grad student. Twitter