BiG TWITTER POST: Falcons shooting struggles continue, but defense dominates Wright State (37.5% FGs, 17 turnovers) in 54-41 victory at Stroh Center Monday
BiG GAME STORY: The Falcons fell behind early but used a 14-2 run over the middle of the first half to lead by as many as eight, only to see Wright State tie the game at 14-14 with 5:29 left in the period. From that point there were two more lead changes and three more ties before the two teams took a 22-22 tie into the halftime break. Early in the second half Wright State led by as many as four points before a decisive 18-4 run by the Falcons gave them a 44-34 lead with 9:43 to play. From that point Wright State came no closer than three points, and BG shut out the Raiders over the final 5:47 to seal the win.
BiG OVERVIEW: The Falcons were led in scoring by A’uston Calhoun, who had 19 points and eight rebounds, while Jordon Crawford added 11 points, three rebounds, two assists and three steals. Sophomore Richaun Holmes came of the bench to score nine points and add four rebounds and three blocked shots. Sophomore guard Anthony Henderson added four points, five rebounds and a career-high (and team leading) four steals.
BiG PLAY: Late in the second half the Falcons had seen a 10-point lead dwindle to three points. BG’s Luke Kraus missed a 3-pointer, but A’uston Calhoun grabbed the rebound and was fouled. Calhoun made the free throws to bump the lead up to five points, and the Falcons were not challenged again. Calhoun’s basket helped stopped Wright State’s final decisive run, and his free throws started Bowling Green’s 9-0 finishing kick.
BiG PLAYER OF THE GAME: Senior A’uston Calhoun led the Falcons with 19 points, 17 of which came in the second half. While Calhoun was just 3-for-11 from the field, he was a perfect 12-for-12 from the foul line. Calhoun also added a team-high eight rebounds to help Bowling Green to a 35-26 advantage on the boards.
BiG NUMBERS: When a team isn’t shooting well from the field, it has to find other ways to get its points. Bowling Green did that Monday by shooting free throws extremely well. The Falcons shot 90.5 percent from the line (19-of-21), making 16-of-18 (88.9%) in the second half and 7-of-8 in the final 4:38 of the contest.
BiG NOTE: Playing good defense is about more than forcing the other team to miss a shot, or take a tough shot. I’ve had coaches tell me that “defense” doesn’t end until you grab the rebound, and the Falcons did a fine job rebounding against Wright State. BG won the battle of the boards 35-26, which is a good start. Even better was the Falcons’ 12 offensive rebounds, which led to 15 second-chance points for a team starving for offense. But best of all was that Bowling Green allowed the Raiders to grab just three offensive rebounds on 26 missed shots (11.5 percent), which further stymied a Wright State attack that was struggling to amass points.
BiG THOUGHT: The Falcons proved Monday they could win without shooting the ball well. BG made just 32.7 percent of their shots in the contest and connected on just 3-of-16 3-pointers (18.8 percent). But Bowling Green made free throws (exceptionally well) and rode an extremely productive set of eight possessions in the middle of the second half (BG scored 20 points in those eight possessions, or 2.5 points per possession. Most teams are happy to score one point per possession). But victories will have to be squeezed out unless the Falcons start shooting the ball better, especially from behind the 3-point arc.
BiG QUESTION: The Falcons finished with a 2-2 record against the Horizon League. Even better, BG was not overmatched in any of the games – and had chances to win all four. But Bowling Green has learned a valuable lesson in its first eight games: If the Falcons play hard on defense for 40 minutes while taking care of the basketball and making sure every possession is a good one, they have a chance to win games. If BG doesn’t embrace a mentality that features solid defense and avoiding turnovers, the season could be a long one.