Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports
A stretch of 10 minutes without a basket just might've been the reason Michigan State pulled away in the Stroh Center.
I would say that for the first 30 minutes, BG played excellent defense and made the shots they needed. A'uston Calhoun never totally got going, finishing with nine points but Jordon Crawford's go-go point guardsmanship was accented by Chauncey Orr coming out of nowhere to pour in 16 points, a career best for him. Crawford had 10 points and seven assists. On Twitter I said Crawford's style of play best resembles a game of Mario Kart. I'm going to stick with that.
It was mostly a clean game, with the Spartans never able to pull away, mostly due to turnovers but also thanks to BGSU rebounding remarkably well in the first half.
Once Orr drilled a 3-pointer with 10:29 left in the game, tying it at 45-45, a weird thing happened: no field goals for the next 10 minutes. If it weren't for their 6-for-8 free throws during that stretch it could've been terribly ugly. An easy layup by Jehvon Clarke with 29 seconds left broke the streak, but it was over by then.
In all, I have to say the game was a success for BGSU because, basketball-wise, they hung around for much of the game. But more to the point, Michigan State finally had the guts to return to Wood County after that 1990 loss and play a basketball game. For so many years, perhaps propelled by the displeasure of Jud Heathcote, the Spartans wouldn't come to a MAC arena. Many other Big Ten teams followed suit, either by example or by independent conclusion. But times are coming back. Eastern Michigan hosted Purdue this year, and MSU the year before that. This was huge for Bowling Green. They stadium was packed, cameras were in the arena and, jeez, I have so many USA Today photos in my reserve, not just of Falcons players but of the Stroh Center and its menacing bronze falcon. Things happened.
And in the end, we love the upsets and the chest-thumping, but in the end an occasional bus trip on the Big Ten's behalf is really all we're looking for.