I cringe to admit it, but Bowling Green is getting pretty good at handling these close losses.
The trend began last week with a loss to Akron on a last-second shot that untied the game. Then Saturday afternoon Mitchell Watt blocked Jordon Crawford's last-gasp layup out of Stroh Center, across the state line and into my living room window. I swear! I
As a result Buffalo held on to win 68-66, and that's the kind of large block that gets you into second place in the MAC East, tied with OHIO.
It's not a hard and set rule, but it makes sense and I would support its ratification: if you shoot 8-for-10 on threes in the second half a basketball game, you sort of deserve to win it. And that's what BG had to combat after clinging to a one-point lead at half.
And you'd think Zach Filzen would've had something to do with that nonsense. Nope, he was scoreless. The final one which proved to be the insurmountable shot was Dave Barnett's trey in the final minute. The big boys also did their respective things: Javon McCrea and Watt each had 16 points, McCrea bringing down 13 rebounds as well.
But a paltry 7-for-16 shooting night at the free throw line — as evidenced by the errant shot that could've iced the game and saved Crawford from dreadful rejection — had the Falcons lingering close all the livelong day.
There was a crucial possession the Falcons had in that final minute. A`uston Calhoun (who had a career-best 29 points) described it to the Blade's John Wagner as a play for Calhoun, but Cameron Black wound up with the pass and took sort of a difficult jumper from the paint that clanked off. I also recall a fastbreak by Crawford where he didn't have any clear shot to the basket, so he tried a reverse layup and didn't get it to fall either. Little things like that count as missed shots but they're just as bad as turnovers.
But this game did solidify a gray theory I had: The Big Apostrophe is the indefatigable leader of this team. It wasn't just the 29 he scored, but the candor shown in some of those quotes he gave to Wagner after the game, almost taking responsibility for the loss even though per the box score and with thine eyes it wasn't his fault.
I like this Falcons team as much as I can like an 8-10 team. Maybe I'm in love with mediocrity, but at least they can provide some exciting games. Even if like football they are prone to dropping the close ones. That just makes BG sports all the more like life: on average it's all pretty fun until that last part.