Thursday, December 28, 2006

Falcons Win #8

BG wins by 12 against Michigan Tech 58-46. We led by as much as 21, so this one wasn't even as close as it looked. As well it shouldn't have, as Tech is a solid D2 program without much this year.

The key element was that they shot like crap--28.6% for the game, and only 20% for the first half. We built a 29-14 lead at halftime, and then cruised home from there. Todd Walker said it was a pretty lackluster game, and we didn't shoot too well, either (36.2%). Hamblet had a double double (our second straight game with a double double) at 18 points and 11 boards. Samarco had 16, and Nate Miller went 9/9 (almost a second double double in a row for him, plus a double double double double when you combine him with Hamblet).

Back against Jacksonsville on Friday, then the tougher of the games in Green Bay with the hosts on Saturday.

Perhaps more interesting than the game was the trip to Green Bay. Witness below---from, and by all means, avoid the shrimp at the Dakich's house!

Do You Know The Way to Green Bay?

Dec. 27, 2006

Green Bay, Wisconsin - "Guys, I hope you enjoy your break with your family and remember practice is Christmas night," BGSU Coach Dan Dakich said as he addressed his team following the Falcons 79-78 win at Marshall last Friday. "And remember, if your car is going to break down, you better make sure it breaks down before noon so you have time to find another way to practice."

Nothing scatters a team faster than knowing it has around 48 hours away from each other to spend time with family and friends over an abbreviated holiday. And during the last 20 years, more games are being played over traditional holidays such as Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year's and Easter in college athletics.

Some of the Falcon players live as close as an hour away, while a couple have a six hour drive to return home. The rest fall somewhere in between. Nate Miller celebrated his 19-point, 10-rebound performance by going home to Springfield with his mother directly after the Marshall game.

Knowing that every minute counts, most of the team spent the five hour bus ride back from Huntington sleeping. When the Falcons returned home around 3 a.m. early Saturday, some, like Brandon Bland, were packed and ready to go. He dropped fellow freshman Ryan Sims off at home in Ft. Wayne, before heading home himself to Kentucky.

Everyone made it back in time for practice, and that is when the fun begins.

Sophomore Dusan Radivojevic went to the emergency room at Wood County Hospital after he suffered an allergic reaction after eating shrimp earlier in the day.

"This past summer I had something similar when I tried cranberry jelly," said Radivojevic. "They gave me Benadryl and it cleared it up."

The Falcons then returned to Anderson Arena at 7:30 a.m., Tuesday where they would hold a quick practice before busing to Detroit Metro Airport for what would be a one hour flight to Green Bay early in the afternoon.

All was well for the first couple of hours. The team quickly showered, boarded a bus and enjoyed fresh baked goods from the recently opened Tim Horton's. One hour later, the team arrived at the airport and as far as group check-in's go, this one was flawless.

The team had 90 minutes to spare as its flight was due to take off around 12:13 from Gate 71 (a nice haul if you have never been there).

It was at that time that players are encouraged to grab an early lunch/late breakfast. Midway through his second chili dog around 11:15 a.m., Coach Dakich was informed by booster Bill Wammes that "the flight was cancelled, we need to go to gate 41/43, and they said somtheing about taking a train for part of the trip."

The team grabbed its carry-on items and and made its way to the requested gate, where it was told "Here, you may want to get on the phone to try and make your arrangements," by a helpful, though obviously stressed airline representative.

Once it was determined that no trains were involved, options were considered. The first option presented to the group was they would be put on a flight that night at 11 p.m. which would arrive in Green Bay around midnight. The possibility of breaking up the group of 25 in three's also was suggested, but ultimately, thanks to the help of Assistant A.D. Jim Elsasser and Lakefront Lines, a charter bus was dispatched to Detroit and the Falcons would make the eight-hour trip on the ground.

With its 3:30 p.m. practice time in Green Bay now shelved, the team gathered in a meeting room and conducted practice in the airport for about an hour. An assistant coach and another administrator had the duty of getting food and water, courtesy of the airline, for the trip. Forty-four double cheeseburgers and 22 10-piece chicken nuggets later and the team was ready to go.

The next item to consider was how to retrieve the luggage already checked in, which in some airports, requires an act of congress. Thankfully, Wammes, his wife, Sue, and Bill Frack were able to get on a flight to Green Bay at 5 p.m. and they would be able to bring the luggage to the team hotel in their rental car.

The bus arrived at the airport and the Falcons were on the road about 2 p.m. After passing the homes of Martin Samarco (Ypsilanti), Marc Larson (Mattawan, Mich.), and Ryne Hamblet (Chicago), the Falcons received a rare treat.

Avoiding construction and rush hour traffic, the team started off on Lake Shore Drive where it passed all of the major museums and Soldier Field and got to take in a view of the Chicago skyline that was spectacular. The route also took the team through the diverse neighborhoods of Chicago before catching I-94 north of the city on its way to Wisconsin.

Some 15 hours after their day began, the BGSU men's basketball team made it to its destination, the Holiday Inn City Centre in Green Bay. The team held a brief walkthrough before getting their dinner and heading to their rooms for a good nights sleep.

"Considering what could have happened, things worked out for us at the end of the day," said Dakich. "I didn't want to break up our team and who could guarantee that the later flights wouldn't have run into trouble. What we learned today was a great life lesson. A lot of people, from our bus drive, the airlines, our hotel, the Wammes' and Bill Frack, etc., really went out of their way to make the best out of a tough situation."

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