Monday, January 21, 2019

EMU MBB Preview

BG will hit the court for their sixth MAC game and a nine-game winning streak and a two-game lead over the next teams (other than Buffalo).

The next on the menu is EMU.  As always, they are hard to judge.  They are 8-10, but that's with 4 non-D1 wins.  It also includes losses at Kansas and Duke.  They also lost to Detroit, as BG did.

They are 2-3 in the MAC, but they have played the toughest schedule to date in the conference.  They've played Buffalo twice, @ Ball State, Kent and @ Akron.  Their wins are Ball State, and Kent, who they beat by 34.

BG beat EMU twice last year--both in overtime, once in Ypsi and once in BG in the MAC tourney.  In the last 10 games, EMU has won 6 and but BG has a two-game winning streak at EMU.

They play the Syracuse 2-3 zone, which is their signature.  They play it right.  They were picked to win the West after an 11-7 MAC season last year and adding a big-man transfer from Grand Canyon.  To date the results aren't what they might have hoped for, but again they have some tough games behind them.  (For reference, Kenpom is the source for them playing the toughest MAC schedule to date.  BG is #11).

Following stats are MAC games only.  BG is #2 in the offense and #1 in defense in the MAC to date.  EMU is #5 in offense and #6 in defense.  They have a lot of size.



The first thing about how EMU plays is that they play at a slow pace.  SLOW.  They are last in the MAC and in the bottom four of all D1 for all games.  They play at a full 5 possessions below the national average.  They do ALMOST everything well on offense.  They are the 4th in shooting, 1st in offensive rebounding and 4th in getting to the line.  Their only weakness is turning the ball over, in which they are last.

They don't take many 3FGs on average, though when they do they are 2nd at making them.  Notwithstanding their big men, they are 9th in 2FG%.  They are 11th in FT shooting.

One huge key is going to be rebounding.  EMU is #1 in offensive rebounding and #14 in the country and BG leads the MAC in defensive rebounding.  That will be a key battle, as well as BG forcing misses to start with.


Flipping it around, EMU's strength is forcing turnovers.  That zone can be very tricky to move the ball around on and EMU has a long team.  BG will need to take care of the ball.  EMU is not great against the shot, which is unusual.  They are 6th in EFG% defense--that's 4th against the 3 and 9th against the 2, if you get inside the zone.  They are poor on the defensive boards and on preventing teams from getting to the line.  In general, this has not been the EMU lockdown D we have come to know in the past.



Their leading scorer (again, MAC play only) is Elijah Minnie, scoring 16.8 per game, shooting 47% and 46% from 3, which is really good.  He also averages 6 RPG.

Paul Jackson is their second-leading scorer at 14.4 PPG.  He shoots 39% and 27%, which is inefficient.  He does average 5.4 assists per game.

James Thompson IV is usually their top scorer.  He is scoring 12.8 PPG on 73% shooting to go with 12 rebounds.  Their transfer is Barbecar Toure, who came in from Grand Canyon as a grad transfer.  He's scoring 9.4 PPG and 8.8 RPG.

They are a big team.  They are in the top 10% of teams in terms of effective height on kenpom.  This will put pressure on BG's bigs, from Wiggins through to Uju and even possibly Mattos.

 EMU is also experienced, #30 in the team on that measure.

Every game is a new test for BG.  You can't sleep on EMU, that's for sure, especially in Ypsi.

Sunday, January 20, 2019

Superlatives Round Up

Here are the curated superlatives from bgsufalcons.com.


  • For the first time since the 1961-62 season, Bowling Green has gotten off to a 5-0 start in Mid-American Conference play. The 1961-62 Falcons won their first seven MAC games.  (That was also a Harold Anderson coached team.  They went 21-4, won the MAC title and played in the NCAA tourney, losing to Butler by 1 in Lexington, KY).
  • Bowling Green has won five-straight MAC games for the first time in a decade. The Falcons won six-straight conference games during the 2008-09 championship season.  (That team won the regular season title).
  • The Orange and Brown have won nine-straight games for the first time since 2001-02. The 2001-02 Falcons won 12-straight games, but only three of the wins were MAC victories. (That team finished 24-9, lost to Kent in the MAC final and lost to Butler in the NIT.  The most at-large worthy team in program history).
  • The Falcons are 10-0 at home for the first time since the 1999-2000 BGSU squad went a perfect 12-0 at Anderson Arena. The Stroh Center record for home wins a single season for the men's basketball team is 12. During the venue's inaugural season, the Falcons went 12-4 at home.
  • Over the Falcons' nine-game winning streak, BGSU is outscoring its opponents by an average of 19.1 points, and outrebounding its opponents by an average of 10.0 rebounds. BGSU is shooting 46.7 percent from the field, while holding its opponents to 38.6 percent shooting.


Falcon MBB Move to 5-0.

Sequitur et percussio

Nine in a row.  Five in a row in the MAC.  Succeeding at levels not seen here in my lifetime.....MY lifetime, for crying out loud.  This is fun.  Let the beat go on.

There's no other way to put it, but BG dismantled WMU yesterday at the Stroh.  Yes, the Broncos are winless, but they had played Buffalo hard (albeit in Kzoo) and are always competitive.  It simply never was, 78-49.  An amazing result for the Falcons.  This is just not something I had expected to see.

BG led wire to wire.  The Falcons jumped out to a 9-0 lead.  Mid-way through the half BG was up by 3 and with 6 minutes left BG was up 6, 21-15.  Important to note the very low score.  At this point, neither team was scoring--BG was missing a lot of makeable shots.  Anyway, BG started to make their shots and WMU never did.  BG closed out the half 9-2 to lead 30-17.  BG stormed out in the second half, had the lead over 20 by the first media timeout.  From there, the game was never closer than 19 and BG led by as much as 33 in the second half.

In the words of the retiring Marty Brennaman, "haaaaaaaaaaaaave Mercy."

BG held WMU to .67 points per possession, BG's best defensive performance in a D1 game since a December, 2009 game at Fordham.  It's Western's worst offensive game since they played Northwestern in 2013.  BG simply played great defense.  WMU made 39% of their 2 FGs and just 13% of the 3FGs.  They turned the ball over, BG kept them off the boards and did pretty well keeping them off the line.'

One thing that's interesting is steals.  So, it's my theory that steals are more valuable than other turnovers.  I don't have data for that, but when you talk points off turnovers, it seems to be that a dead ball turnover just results in a half-court set, whereas a live ball turnover combines a stop with a transition attempt.  Anyway, BG leads the MAC right now in steals as a percentage of overall possessions (in MAC play), and I think it's noticeable on the floor.

Meanwhile, BG scored 1.11 points per possession, a winnable number on its own.  BG's shooting was below average, at 48% EFG.  That's 42% on 2FG and 41% on 3FG.  To compensate, BG took outstanding care of the ball, their best turnover game of the season.  BG was strong on the offensive boards as well.  Lastly, WMU was 13 of 19 on FTs and BG 12 of 16, so the actual point margin was only 1.



Individually, the really interesting thing is Demajeo Wiggins.  If you had said BG had won five straight in the MAC and Wiggins would have scored 21 points and shot 4 of 24 over the last four of those games, I don't think you'd have thought that was possible.  In the Ball State game, he struggled to score but had 15 rebounds, but in this game he had only 4 rebounds and played only 22 minutes in a game where WMU had a true post threat.

I'm not ripping him, these are just facts.  It's possible he's playing through an injury they are keeping quiet.  Also, there's no doubt that teams are focusing on him with their defense--but he'd always still kept rebounding.

One thing is that if teams are packing in on Wiggins, BG is compensating from the outside, something we did not do consistently when we had inside threats like Calhoun and Holmes in recent years.

Dylan Frye led BG's scoring with 14 points shooting 5 of 12 and 4 of 8 from 3FG.  He also led the team with 7 rebounds and had 5 assists over 0 rebounds.  Justin Turner had 13 on 5 of 13 shooting and 0 of 3 from 3FG.  He added five rebonds and 4 assists.  Caleb Fields had a highly efficient 10, making 4 of 6 and 2 of 3 and added 4 rebounds in 22 minutes.  Antwon Lillard had 10 on 3 of 7 and 1 of 3 shooting and 6 rebounds.   None of the players played their normal minutes due to the big lead.

Next up is EMU, playing a 2-3 zone that has stymied BG in the past.  Coach said after the game that you have to make shots to beat EMU and hopefully we're getting confident enough to make those shots.  Loving it.

Saturday, January 19, 2019

Pelini Leaves BG. Back to Youngstown State.




So, the above news broke from the Saturday snow here in Northwest Ohio.  Carl Pelini leaving the BG program and heading back to Youngstown State as coach-in-waiting.

You had to wonder about the arrangement once Brian VanGorder came on board.  He's a long-time DC at major schools and in the NFL.  He had an existing relationship with Scot Loeffler and it was just hard to see him being a LB coach and Pelini running the defense over the long-haul.

A couple points.  First, I'm happy for Coach Pelini.  He was a 100% honorable and professional when Coach Jinks was fired.  He held the team together, kept the season from spiraling off, and was a true servant-leader.  He clearly had the respect of the people he worked with.  I assume he wants to head coach again and this is an opportunity for him to do it, and I'm happy for him.  He deserves it and he goes with our thanks.

Second, Brian Van Gorder has been hired for some big jobs.  I think he's certainly qualified to run our defense.  Now, being qualified is only part of succeeding--true of our entire staff--but he's certainly qualified.  The one thing I liked about Pelini staying was that we had made a little progress on defense and the players will now be under the third defensive system in three years, which is not optimal.

Third, both Van Gorder and Pelini bring a comparably-sized and motivated internet troll following.

Friday, January 18, 2019

Bronco Preview

So, in the snow, here's come the Broncos.  They are winless in the MAC but there are no off days in the MAC and Hawkins always has his team ready to play.  They battled Buffalo very tough in their last game and they will battle the Falcons tough in this one.

They are 6-11 overall.  Their best win is over Detroit, ranked #197---a team that beat BG, FWIW.  They also lost 3 games to teams ranked 285 or below...it's been a tough season for the Broncos.  By and large, they have been very good.  Hawkins took over in 2003-4, and in the 15 years he's completed there they have been to the NCAAs twice, won 20 games 7 times, and been over .500 in the MAC 11 times, both numbers BG cannot meet over roughly the same period.

In fact, WMU was picked to win the West last season, but injuries to four key players kept them at 9-9.

BG beat them last year at the Stroh, and the teams are 5-5 over the past 10 years.  We will play twice this year.

So, this year, they lost All-MAC player Thomas Wilder to graduation.  Double figure scoring G Reggie Jones transferred to Tulsa.  Their second leading scorer Bryce Moore had surgery and is expected to redshirt.  Brandon Johnson also played almost the whole season injured and had surgery and is out indefinitely, last I saw.

And so, you see why things might be tough.

This will be a physical game.  WMU is typically very physical.  In fact, here's a story about them practicing in football pads.

So, matching them up...actually, you never see this, BG and WMU's season production are perfect matches.  WMU is a poor offensive team and BG is good on defense, and BG is decent on offense and they are decent on defense.



Breaking that down, they are below average shooters who turn the ball over a lot.  That's a rough mix.  They aren't awful on offense, though, and that's because they are very good on the offensive boards and the are very good getting to the line, and they make 70% when they are there.  They take an above-average number of 3FGs, but they are well below average (31.5%).  For a power team, they only make 50.7% of the 2FGs, which is ever so slightly above average.  The boards battle will be key.....BG is #10 in the country in defensive rebounding.  If the Falcons take that away, they have an excellent shot of keeping the WMU offense in check.



When BG has the ball, you have a team shooting about average against a team defending about average.  The key is the WMU does not force turnovers (among the 10 worst in the country) and is about average on the defensive boards.  They do keep their opponents off the line, (top 50 nationally) and it all adds up to a subpar defense.

They allow 36% on 3FGs, which is subpar and they are slightly above average against the 2FG.



Michael Flowers is their leading scorer at 16.2 per game.  He's not proficient overall on this FGs (43%) but he's shooting 38% from 3FG, which is good, and adds 4.9 rpg and 3.8 over 3.1 A/T.

Thier main big man is 7-footer Seth Dugan, who seems to have played in Kalamazoo forever.  He scored 14.8 per game on 54% shooting to go with 8.3 rebounds and a blocked shot per game  Josh Davis also scores in double figures at 13.7 PPG, also with 6.2 rpg. 

Beyond the defensive battle mentioned above, another key is how the post play goes.  Both teams offer a traditional 5 with productivity on the inside.  Wiggins has been struggling on offense for three games under MAC-quality defensive scrutiny and I would be surprised to see WMU do anything else.  He either needs to be able to be strong with the ball or kick it out on the double team.  BSU said they wanted to make BG in a jump shooting team and it more or less work and it hamstrung BG, so they'll need an answer to that.

As well as BG is playing at home, you'd expect to win this one.  However, WMU is battling and we're not going to win forever.  This is one of those games that might not be pretty, but you have to figure out a way to win.

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Notes from the BGSU Victory


Again, mostly from the BGSU staff, with some additional thoughts from me...

  • Bowling Green is on an eight-game winning streak for the first time since 2001-02. The Falcons won 12-straight games during the 2001-02 campaign and went on to be 24-9.
  • The Falcons have started Mid-American Conference play with a 4-0 record for the first time since 2004-05. Dan Dakich's team went 10-8 in the MAC that season.  (The Almanson/Reimold team that lost a home game or would have won the MAC West).
  • For the first time since 2014-15, the Falcons have won four-straight conference games.
  • Bowling Green is 9-0 inside the Stroh Center, marking its best home start since 1999-2000. The 1999-2000 edition of the Falcons went 12-0 at Anderson Arena.  (Anthony Stacey played on that team, which won 22 games and lost in Cleveland on the Miami shot).

BG MBB Goes 4-0 in MAC

Onward goeth the beat.

This is just terrific.  Thanks so much to all the players and coaches who worked hard to get this going.  I know nothing's done yet, etc, but this is just really fun to watch and I'm so proud of this team.

Here's part of why.  BG's first 3 MAC wins were kind of anomalies, in the sense that they were double-digit wins in conference play.  You just rarely see that, even from the good teams.  Noting that Buffalo played winless WMU last night, and the Bulls were up 2 with 5 minutes to play and only 4 inside of 2 minutes.  Yes, they won by 9, but it was a battle and that's what you expect.

This was an old-school, MAC slugfest.  Type of game that's played in a gym.  It was tough with both sides playing stifling defense in the second half and the game coming down the wire.  There were 44 fouls called.  It was an absolute brawl.  And BG came out ahead.

Remember, Ball State was picked to be at the top of the conference.  They've won at Savage this year.  They are a veteran team--#44 in experience in the country, according to kenpom.  True, they have not won since leaving Savage Arena, but that's a well-coached team with veteran players and the game still went BG's way.

And, it was a game BG was more or less in control of.  BG led for 32 minutes of the game.  Ball State never led by more than 2.  I think the result was the right result.

BG jumped out to a 14-5 lead and lead 29-19 with 8 left in the first half.  Ball State scored 8 straight to cut it to 1 with 4:38 left and then a minute later had the game tied.  For almost all of the rest of the game the lead was never higher than 6 and most of the time it was a one-possession game.  The early second half was marked mostly by no one scoring.  BG at one point was 1 of 18 from the field and Ball State was 2 and something.  Some of it was missed shots but both teams were working hard on the defensive end.

BG was up 4 with the ball with 2 minutes left to play.  Lillard missed a 3 and BSU raced down their floor.  Plowden got a steal from Tayler Persons--one of the best guards in the MAC--and fed Lillard, who missed but Plowden had the offensive board and the put back and BG was up 6 with 1:21 left.

Back on the defensive end, BG got another steal, this team from Lillard, who was fouled on the other end and sunk 2 free throws.  BG up 8 with 1:16 left, having played a winning and decisive minute of basketball in clutch time.

The Cardinals were not going away.  Persons drew a foul on Plowden and made both FTs to cut it to 6 and then they hit a 3 off a Turner miss and it was down to 3 with :33 left. 

Then, BG experienced an issue from the bad-old days, which is the inability to get the ball in-bound off the baseline in a clutch situation.  Ball State was in a hair-on-fire defense mode.  BG got the ball inbounds the first time, but threw it right in the corner and Frye had to get a bail-out timeout.  The timeout didn't help, there was still nowhere to put the ball and BSU got the 5-second call. 

So, that's a big turnaround.  Now BSU has the ball under the basket down 3.  This time, however, BG stayed poised and together, and got the stop on a 3-ball and Wiggins cleared the board and was fouled and he came down and hit both clutch FTs and BG was up 5 with :12 left.

Persons made a jumper to cut it back to 3 with :06 left.  After a lengthy hissyfit from James Whitford (I assume over the possession arrow, but I don't know), BG got the ball in.  This time, BSU had to foul right away, they got Frye with :05, he split the pair to put BG up 4 and Persons hit a buzzer beater to make the final margin 1.

Great game and a very good win for our team.  BG scored 1.02 points per possession, the lowest of the winning streak.  They allowed 1.01, which, as noted last time, is a winnable number.

In the local paper, Coach Whitford said that they wanted to make BG into a jump shooting team, and they certainly did that.  You're not going to win many games where you get outshot like this.  BG made 31% of its 2FGs, the lowest since NIU in the 2016 season.  BG, however, did make 40% of its 3s for the 7th time in 8 games, so that helped to balance it out.  BG got a couple possessions back on turnovers--including those two late steals--and dominated the boards against a good rebounding team.  Finally, and probably most vital, BG had a very good game at the line, making 29 of 33 FTs, as opposed to BSU's 19 of 25.  Without that FT shooting, Ball State probably gets the win.  Ball State's shooting was the reverse of BG....they made 55% of their 2FGs and only 31% of their 3FGs.




Individually, Justin Turner had 20, which he has had for all the MAC games.  He shot 7 of 17 and 3 of 6 and made all 3 of this FTs along with 3 assists and 3 turnovers.

BG has had success getting contributions from different guys.  In this game, it was Daeqwon Plowden, who has been pretty silent over the past few games.  In this one, he had a career game, scoring 19 in 27 minutes.  He was 4 of 7 and 3 of 5, 8 of 10 at the line, 8 rebounds and 2 steals.  Antwon Lillard scored 15 on 4 of 12 and 1 of 5 shooting--so not the most efficient night--to go with 6-6 at the line, 4 rebounds and 2 steals.  Dylan Frye scored 10 on 3 of 9 shooting and 1 of 4 shooting, 3 of 4 at the line and 2 steals.

Demajeo Wiggins is continuing to be challenged on the offensive end.  He's getting swarmed when he has the ball, he couldn't back down on Moses and it looks to me like he's not always strong with the ball.  He was 0 of 7 from the field with 3 turnovers, so 10 possessions.  He still contributed though.  He made 7 of 8 at the line and had 15 boards, putting him over 900 on his career. 

He's had 0 FGs in 2 of the last 3 games and is 2-17 in that span.  I think it's clear that teams are determined to keep him from beating them, which is fine if BG can use the space to make them pay for that decision.  You can bet that WMU will continue to play Wiggins very tough--they are typically among the most physical teams in the MAC.

BG tried to go without him, but I think you could see that BG just doesn't have another true 5 to matchup with inside players like BSU has.

Anyway, it was a hard-fought victory for BG.  Winless WMU is coming in Saturday in the midst of a predicted winter storm.  WMU will not lay down.  No chance.

Monday, January 14, 2019

Ball State MBB Preview

Well, here we go.  BG has beaten Ohio, Kent and CMU, which was all well and good.  Now, they face a team that was picked to be a top contender in the MAC.


Though not without some issues.

They entered the MAC at 9-4.  Their losses were Purdue, Virginia Tech, Evansville and Alabama, so not a bad loss in the bunch.  They won @Loyola and they have a kenpom of 93 right now.  They are 10-6 and 1-2.

I watched them play Toledo and I was really impressed.  They just looked great.  They have 3 really good players--at least--and won by 15 at Savage.  Since then, however, they lost to EMU in OT and then to OU by 18.  Both games were in Muncie.

In other words, they are moving forward with 2 home losses, never a good thing.

And they are scratching their heads over the loss to OU.  You just didn't see that coming.  So now, they get to come to the Stroh to try and put their season back together.  You don't want to start 1-3.

Meanwhile, BG continues to play well, but this is their best opponent in MAC play.  It's a great test to show our continued progress.  It's a good storyline for the game.

Ball State is a good offensive team.  Most of the teams BG has played to date have been.  They are scoring 1.09 points per possession.  They are also good on defense, allowing 1.02 points per possession.  Look at that left hand side of the chart!  BG playing good defense against a really good Ball State offense.  Should be interesting.



Their calling card is top flight shooting.  Their EFG is 55%, which is #34 in D1.  They make 56% of their 2FGs, which is #40 in the country, and they make 36% of their 3FGs, but don't shoot that many, which is actually a dangerous combination.  (BG is #29 at defending 2FGs, so that has the potential to be decisive.

The Cardinals are a little bit above average on turnovers and offensive rebounds and they get to the line OFTEN.  They are #16 in getting to the line and, unlike most of BG's opponents, they are making 70% of their FTs, which is about the D1 average.  In 3 of the 4 areas, you see strength against strength.  (BG is #15 in the nation on the defensive boards).



The Ball State defense gets its stops by defending the shot and not allowing opponents to the FT line.  They allow 48% EFG, which is #67 in the nation.  They are especially tough to shoot 2FGs against--46% and they also defend the 3FG well.  BG will need to work hard on offense to get good looks and then convert them.  The Cards don't force turnovers and they are below average on the defensive boards.



As mentioned, Ball State has three very solid players.  That starts with two-time All-MAC Sr. PG Tayler Persons.  He's scoring 16 PPG on 46% and 38% shooting.  He has over 5 assists per game and makes 83% of his FTs.

Tahjai Teague their second leading scorer.  He's a redshirt junior.  He's scoring 15 PPG on 63% shooting.  He also averages 7.8 RPG.

Their third stud (in my view) is Trey Moses.  He's 6'9" and has been All-MAC and All-Defensive.  He scores 9 PPG and 6.8 RPG.  He's blocked 26 shots and shoots over 50%.

Their new addition is KJ Walton, who transferred from Missouri, where he made 24 starts.  He's scoring 14 PPG on 56% shooting and almost no 3FGs.  He's 6'3".

Oh, and if you remember in the off-season there was a battle between BG and Ball State for Austin Nehls, a graduate transfer.  He's averaging 3.5 PPG.

This is one of the more experienced teams in the country.  Despite their struggles, they remain a formidable opponent and another good test for the Falcons.

Sunday, January 13, 2019

Four Football Verbals

There were some visits for football over the weekend, and it appears to have netted some verbal commits for the later signing period.  That NSD will be in February, so we'll learn more then, but for now these four are saying on twitter they are coming to BG.

Coach said that we had four scholarships left after signing day.  One of the four below is saying he's a preferred walk-on and others might be as well.  That's one of the things we might find out.  Also, note that all four of these young men are from our general area...certainly in the four-hour radius.  (Other note:  Max Warner, our QB Coach, was coaching HS in FLA and he has been offering players down there).

First, BG has two players from Norwalk.  The "Truckers" had a huge season.  They were 10-4 and made the DIII semi-finals, their best year in 44 seasons.

The first is Treveon Raymore.  He played RB at Norwalk and was extremely productive.  Second-team all-state.  He is the school record holder for rushing attempts (40), yards (407) and touchdowns (6) in a single game; attempts in a season (349) and career (648). Raymore ran for 2,518 yards and 27 TDs in 2018.


He is 5'10 and 223, which is a pretty good sized young man.  I don't know if we project him at RB or on defense.

The other Trucker is Tche Leroux.  I assume it is pronounced "Shea" but I guarantee it is not a typo.  He was first-team all-state on the defensive line.  He had 70 tackles and 10 sacks in the regular season, while also recovering three fumbles — including one for a touchdown. He added six more sacks and more than 20 tackles in the four playoff games for the Truckers, who finished 10-4 and advanced to the state semifinals.  He's 6'3" and 225 and somewhere I saw he projects to a WDE.

In September he committed to Toledo.   No idea what was up with that.  We almost for sure have a quicker path to playing than UT does.  His brother is one year behind him, plays OL and has some big offers.

Austin Dorris is a graduate transfer from Indiana University.  He's 6'5" and 240 and caught 4 passes in his Hoosier career.  He is from Shadyside, Ohio, where he was all-state, playing QB and TE.  He was a 3-star recruit coming out of HS.  He played a lot of special teams, where we could also use some help.  At IU, he played for OC Mike DeBord, who Loeffler worked for at CMU. 

The last is Sebastien Moubarak,  He's a LB from McDowell HS, which is in Erie, PA.  That's the same HS as James Conner.  This blog has a bias for NE Ohio and Western PA recruits...they are born for football.  Based on this, he wasn't recruited until after his senior year.  The 6-0, 220 pound linebacker registered 136 tackles (85 solo), 13 tackles for loss and a sack.

That's pretty productive.  If he's a late bloomer, that's ideal for how MAC teams succeed.

Welcome to the Falcons, Tche, Treveon, Austin and Sebastien.

Some superlatives on MBB

There are a lot of superlatives and strong comparables for the BG MBB team.  These are all drawn from BGSUFalcons.com, with some editing and massaging by me.

On a team basis:

  • For the first time in school history, Bowling Green has started Mid-American Conference play with three-straight wins by double figures.
  • The Falcons are 3-0 in MAC play for the first time since 2004-05.
  • Bowling Green has won seven-straight games by 10-plus points for the first time since 1947-48.
  • Bowling Green has won seven-straight games for the first time since 2001-02. The seven-game winning streak sets a Michael Huger Era high.
  • Bowling Green is on its first three-game MAC winning streak since 2016-17, having won three-consecutive MAC games by double digits for the first time since 2001-02.
  • The Orange and Brown are 2-0 in MAC road games, marking the first time that has happened since head coach Michael Huger's debut season in 2015-16. BGSU has already matched the amount of MAC road wins it had all of last season.

Individual:

  • For the third time in his career and first time this season, redshirt-sophomore guard Justin Turner scored 30-plus points. He's the first BGSU sophomore to get 30 in 15 years.
  • Turner eclipsed 800 points on the night, as he's now scored 821 points in just 51 games.
  • Antwon Lillard is just 113 points shy of 1,000 for his career.
  • Senior forward Demajeo Wiggins added eight points and a game-high 16 rebounds. Wiggins moved to third all-time in rebounds at BGSU, surpassing Len Matela, who racked up 890 rebounds as a Falcon from 1998-2002. Wiggins now has 899 rebounds for his career, and sits behind a couple of BGSU legends in Nate Thurmond (1,295 rebounds | 1961-63) and Cornelius Cash (1,068 | 1973-75).

A quick riff on that last number.  Wiggins is 169 rebounds short of catching Cash.  There are 15 regular season games left.  There's at least one MAC tournament game left, and let's hope for more.  So, with the minimum number of games, he'd need 10.5 per game to reach #2.  If BG were to play 20 more games--and that's possible--he'd only need 8.5.  So, all in all, that's doable but will require him to continue to produce at the conference-leading pace he has established.

Anyway, all this just underscores the level at which BG is playing right now compared to our admittedly sub-par performance since the WVU debacle.  (Correlation is not causation).  It is what we asked for--for the program to make some progress toward being competitive.  And we're getting it.

BG wins 3rd straight MAC game

And.  The.  Beat.  Goes. On.

The BG Men's Basketball team continues to provide a highly satisfying season to its fans and supporters.  This is just really fun.  Can't wait for Tuesday.

Yes, nothing is decided.  As Coach says, "we haven't done anything yet," and they haven't.  But they are showing that small steps have been made and they might add up to big steps.  We shall see.

One of the things I always said about teams like Kent and Akron was that they knew how to win.  They were ruthless.  You might be ahead with 8 left and be all excited, but they would just settle in and work the game plan and make the plays needed coming home.  To beat them, you had to play a very good game and there was no other way.

Again, we're not there yet.  But you saw elements of that kind of thing on Saturday in Mt. Pleasant. 

The arc of the game was interesting.  Note that CMU had a good record but a poor schedule.  Still, they were undefeated at home this year...just like us...and the game was sold out.  This is a tough situation in a conference where the home team won 67% of the games last year. 

BG bolted out to a 7 point lead early in the first half, but CMU had it tied again with about 9 minutes left.  CMU never took the lead in the first half, and BG pumped the lead as high as 9 again and then lead by 7 at halftime.

BG came out of the locker room hot (note, if you will, when the opposite used to happen) and stretched the lead to 11 a couple minutes in.  With 13 minutes left, BG led by 16.  With 10 left, BG was still up 10. 

Then it happened.  CMU went on a 13-0 run to take the lead by 3, with about 5 minutes left.  Guirk is rocking.  They are finally hit 3s, even guys that don't make them.  BG struggling on the offensive end.  This is tailor-made for any team to get swept away in the flood.

CMU held the lead for a few minutes.  In fact, with 90 seconds left they led by 6.  Based on kenpom, BG had about a 1% chance of winning at that point.

Dylan Frye made a steal and went all the way to cut the lead to 4 with 1:10 left.  BG fouled Larry Austin, who then missed both of his FTs.  BG came down the floor and had the offense in Juicemode, which is when they feed Turner at the top of the key and he drives and scores a basket.  Which he did for a layup to cut it to 2 with :43 left.

DiLeo missed a 3FG, Wiggins cleared the board and BG raced down there floor.  Juice drove again, but was fouled this time with :07 left.  Turner made both clutch FTs to tie the game.  CMU had one last possession but Austin turned the ball over and it was OT.

BG bolted out to a 4 point lead in the OT, but with 3 left CMU had it tied again. BG pumped it up again to go up 3 but then CMU had it tied again with 2 minutes left, 87-87.

From there, BG scored 10 and CMU scored 0.

Turner hit a 3 to put BG up 3.  CMU had a possession with two shots, the last of which was an errant Austin 3, cleared by Wiggins.  (1:21)

Working in Juicemode, Turner got into the lane and showed his skill because once he's rolling the defense is on their heels and he has more than one way to score.  He hit a jumper to make it up 5.  On the next possession, Caleb Field stole the ball, fed Turner who was fouled and made 2 FTs.  BG up 7 with :46 to play.

Just look back at those three possessions.  Seven points for BG, and a missed shot and a steal for CMU.  That's the kind of thing Akron used to do to you.

CMU came down and Fields gets another steal and feeds Turner again and he's fouled and makes both FTs again and BG was up 9.

That's 9 straight points by Justin Turner in crunch time and two steals from a true freshman.  Michael Laster made a late FT, but it was over at that point.  BG had come into the sold-out gym and got the win.

Just for reflection, how many times did we feel that from the opposite perspective?  Losing a game in OT we should have won in regulation?

Here are the numbers.  Remember, this was an OT game.  BG scored 1.13 points per possession, which is their lowest since the Western Carolina game, but still in winnable territory.  BG was 7-1 scoring at that level last year.  BG allowed 1.01 points per possession, which is not as good as in other games but still below D1 average and winnable.  BG was 10-3 last year playing that kind of defense.  Just as importantly, they held a team that came in with a high-powered 1.07 points per possession to a below-average total. It was their fourth-worst offense this year.

That's the kind of thing Akron used to do to people.

You can see how that played out.  BG shot well, but not great...lowest since Findlay.  BG made 46% from 2 FG and more 3FG.  Obviously, that's great on the 3s, but should be better on the 2FG.  BG missed a lot of zero footers in there.  However, the Falcons had an edge taking care of the ball.  Their only better game was NC Central.  Perhaps the key number is the offensive rebounds.  CMU came in with really good offensive rebound results and BG kept them off that game in a big way...TCU held them to the same number.

CMU does get to the line and they certainly did against BG. They are a poor FT shooting team, and though they made about an average 69% and were +9 at the line, it wasn't enough to make up for BG's lead on the other categories.

BG continues to struggle at the FT line.  BG made only 65% of its FTs.



Individually, the name of the day was Justin Turner.  He scored 30 points on 10-22 shooting, 3 of 8 from 3.  He made all 7 of this FTs, however, and was flawless in clutch time, as we have noted.  He also had 6 assists, 2 turnovers and 2 steals.  He might be the best player we have had since McLeod, but I might need to think about that.

Wiggins struggled.  Here's the thing.  So far, MAC teams have seemed to say that they aren't going to let Wiggins beat them and his offensive opportunities have been limited.  He shot 2 of 7, 2 TOs and made only 4 of 10 FTs.  So, that's not great.  He did get 16 rebounds though, and is largely responsible for keeping CMU off the offensive glass, which was a key element.

He's leading the MAC in rebounding and is 3rd in the country.  Here's the thing.  We have two guys that you would want to take away, and taking them both away is going to be difficult.  That makes you tough to beat.

Michael Laster is growing by leaps and bounds.  He's just playing great.  He scored 18 points on 8 of 17 shooting, made 1 of 3 from 3FGs, had 6 rebounds and 3 steals.  Right now, he's our best guard.

How about Dylan Frye?  He scored 11 points, on 4 of 8 and 1 of 3 shooting.  The best thing is that he is playing within the offense and isn't forcing shots.  Also, he's on the floor during all the defense.

Antwon Lillard is also playing well off the bench.  He had 11 points, on 5 of 9 and 1 of 3 shooting and added 6 rebounds.

Lastly, Matiss Kulackovskis, who hasn't gotten off the bench in a couple games, added some real energy in a dead part of the first half for BG.  He ended up with 10 in 12 minutes on 4 of 7 and 2 of 2 shooting.  The Sierra/Plowden/Uju rotation didn't seem to click today, but Matiss did.

And Caleb Fields with 2 huge steals in the last minute of overtime.

That's the kind of thing you used to see from Akron, too.

Last thing.  Depth.  BG had 10 players play over 10 minutes.  (Remember, 45-minute game).  Turner played 39.  CMU had 8 play over 10 and 3 play 38 or 39.  Coach felt in the post-game that the depth was a factor in BG's hard close both in regulation and overtime.

This is fun as hell.  Ball State next, coming off a blow out loss in Muncie.  Enjoy the ride.