Survive and live to play another game. That is post-season basketball. And boy did the Bears survive. They survived an amazing shooting start by the Jackrabbits and some sloppy offense of their own and overcame a 12 point deficit. The Bears went on an 18-3 run to get their first lead with 5:24 left in the first half, and they allowed just 9 points in the last 13 minutes of the half.
They also survived some sloppy play and bit shot making by SDSU late in the game, something the Bears had experience in this year. After getting a 10 point lead with 4 minutes to go, a three-pointer each by Chad White and Griffan Callahan got the lead back to 4 in just 90 seconds. But the Bears survived, and hit their free throws to keep the lead.
They survived another terrible offensive game from Perry Jones III. 2 points on 1-6 shooting and he missed all three of his free throws. Perry did have 11 rebounds but struggled to defend and had terrible rotations for most of the game. This was not a good game at all for Perry.
So how did the Bears survive? They got great production from their back-court, had two good contributors from the bench, and played solid defense for the most part. Brady Heslip hit 5 of his 10 three-point attempts and scored 17 points. He moved very well with the ball and the Bears size advantage worked perfectly on screens.
Pierre Jackson controlled this game and really was our best player. He finished with 18, but only had 2 assists (just 9 total for the Bears). Baylor isolated him quite a bit and also tried to do some pick and roll. I don't really like how our offense ran, but Pierre ran it well.
Deuce Bello gave us some good minutes and played solid defense for the most part. He also attacked on offense and got to the line a few times for us. He chipped in 4 points and 2 steals in 17 minutes. The big player off the bench, especially in the first half was Anthony Jones.
The other Jones on the team took over for the Quincies early, and played an excellent 8 minutes in the half. He contributed 11 points and 2 big rebounds and he seemed to settle the Bears down after they got behind 19-7.
The Bears survived, and that is really the most important thing to take away from this game. Survive to play another game.
1. Keep Wolters out of the paint
The Bears did okay at this. Wolters got into the paint at will to start the game, but they really held him in check after that. Tough to say you did a good job on a player that finished with 19 points, 4 assists, 4 rebounds and 5 turnovers.
The Bears adjusted well and started going under the screens to make him shoot or pass the ball. He was just 1-6 from the 3-point line, the one area of his game that is not good. He was so good when he got into the paint, he was 6-6 in there, and had several and-1's converted as well.
2. Stay on their 3-point shooters
10-30 from the 3-point line is pretty good. That is below their average, but they had a lot of open looks that they missed. Jordan Dykstra missed a few open ones and finished just 1-5. Callahan finished 2-6. The one guy that was effective was Chad White, who hit 5-9 from deep.
They got more than the 8 I wanted to (10 overall) but did not hit the 35% mark. Overall a decent job, but not a great one. We were lucky here.
3. Win the Free Throw game
14-20 for the Bears, 8-14 for the Jackrabbits. Plus 6 points, so that is a definite win for the Bears. They did a good job of taking it inside, however a few times, they did not go up strong and missed easy shots or had their attempts blocked (looking at you Perry). Deuce Bello led the team with 6 FT attempts and really attacked well off the dribble. The only player that missed more than Deuce (4-6 overall ) was the aforementioned Perry Jones III. Everyone stepped up and knocked them down.
4. Dominate on the glass
+12 on the glass overall, and won 12-7 on offensive rebounds. A definete win here, and this part of the Bears game really brought them back into this contest. Anthony Jones stepped up and really saved the Bears in the 1st half. He had 11 points including a big put back off an offensive rebound. He also got several tips out to him and attacked the rim when he had a chance.
5. Get those paint points
The Bears did not win the game here. Perry Jones with 2 points. Quincy Acy with 4 points. That is not dominating the paint area. Saying that, the Bears still finished with 28 points in the paint, 14 in each half. Quincy Miller and Anthony Jones got us some big points here, and Pierre Jackson also used his speed to get into the paint a few times as well. Not good enough posts.