"Rocky” e-mailed me: Shame on you for saying the Temple game was a big win [for the men’s basketball team]. Temple didn’t have two of its stars, and I’m sure they didn’t get very excited to play BG, especially on the road. How big of a deal was that game, really?
Dear Rocky: It was a big, big, BIG deal.
Before we discuss this game, here are links to a few stories about the contest. Click here to read my game story about the contest, and click here to read the BiG Look at the win. And click here to read Dave Hackenberg writing a column about how important the win was to the Falcons.
First, there was a kernel of truth in Rocky’s e-mail. Temple was minus two players, although the Owls already had posted a 3-1 record without senior guard Scootie Randall, a pre-season All-Atlantic 10 third team choice. Losing 6-11 Micheal Eric, who was averaging 10.5 points and 11.3 rebounds per game, just two days before the contest is a bigger blow because Temple had little time to adjust to his loss.
But otherwise I disagree with the rant. Sure, a game against Duke might have given the Owls sharper focus, but Bowling Green was the team on Temple’s schedule. Should we discount ALL upsets because one team may have “looked past” the other?
And you don’t get to pick when your injuries happen – and what player gets injured. It’s just a hazard teams have to deal with all the time. Using this logic, BG should get bonus credit for the victory because it came despite having Jordon Crawford not at 100 percent because of injuries.
Still, set those things aside and it’s STILL a big victory. Temple is a traditional basketball power, and it had won 12 straight games against MAC opponents – and had a 17-5 record against MAC schools since 2006.
What’s more, the Falcons can certainly say they played well enough to deserve the win. BG shot the ball well, making 55.8 percent of its shots from the floor, and shot consistently well – 53.6 percent in the first half, 55.8 percent in the second.
Bowling Green also won the rebounding battle 31-26, thanks in part to nine offensive rebounds. And BG committed just 11 turnovers, a solid number even considering the slow pace of the game.
Most importantly, the win over Temple showed that the Falcons were able to bounce back from a disappointing performance in the loss to George Washington. BG allowed the Colonials to shoot too well in that contest, and a loss to Temple meant the Falcons had slipped back to the .500 mark with a tough stretch of road games coming in December.
Instead Bowling Green will have some bounce in its step, knowing that it can put together a performance worthy of victory against just about any opponent.
Is that a big deal? Yes, it is.
Thanks for writing, John.
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