Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports
Three players scored in double figures as the Falcons dismantled New Orleans on Thursday night at the Stroh Center. BGSU led for all but the first 1:44 of the game and recorded their highest point total and biggest victory margin of the season.
There was not much drama on Thursday night at the Stroh Center, but Bowling Green more than made up for that by treating fans to the team's best offensive performance of the season. The Falcons did whatever they wanted on the offensive end, both by creating shots through an effective half-court offense and scoring in the transition game after a multitude of New Orleans turnovers.
According to John Wagner of the Toledo Blade, the Falcons ended the game with an offensive efficiency rating of 1.19 points per possession -- and that was after they went scoreless on their final six possessions of the game. Prior to those last few trips down the court, their efficiency mark was 1.298. Given that one point per possession is considered "good" by national standards, BGSU's effort against UNO was nothing short of exceptional.
The three-pronged attack was led by A'uston Calhoun and Jordon Crawford. Each poured in 16 points for BGSU. Crawford was 7/11 from the floor and contributed five assists and two rebounds while only turning the ball over twice. Calhoun shot 5/11 and nailed his only three-point attempt. He was also 5/6 from the charity stripe and notched five boards and two assists. The pair of Falcon stars was joined by Chauncey Orr, who scored 12 to go along with three rebounds and three assists.
Two other Bowling Green players came very close to double-doubles. Cameron Black had eight points on 4/6 shooting and eight big defensive rebounds. Meanwhile, Richaun Holmes scored nine points and had ten rebounds. Holmes had nine boards (five offensive) in the second half alone, accounting for a third of BGSU's 27 in that half. More importantly, the pair had zero fouls in a combined 35 minutes of action. It's hard to ask for much more from your bigs.
Want more indications of Bowling Green's dominance? The Falcons shot .461 (35/76) and secured 18 offensive rebounds on their 41 missed shots. That's an offensive rebound on 44% of their misses -- an astounding number. They were actually over 50% in the second half, as they had 11 offensive rebounds on just 21 misses. Did I mention their outstanding assist numbers? On 35 made shots, the Falcons had 23 assists, and they did that while only giving up eight turnovers.
The Falcon defense was just as good; they allowed only nine assists on 20 made shots while also forcing 17 UNO turnovers.
Of course, we have to remember that New Orleans is one of the worst teams in Division I. They rank 346th of 347 teams in the RPI and 326th in ESPN's BPI. The Privateers have won only four games against Division I competition this year, and none of those wins came by more than four points. Then again, this was the same team that held nationally-ranked Butler to only 57 points in a 13-point loss (57-44) at Hinkle Fieldhouse last month.
Regardless, this was a confidence-builder for BGSU, and you can't go wrong with that -- especially when the BracketBusters game and the final stretch of MAC play looms.
This was only my second game this season at the Stroh, and the team looked much different than they did in my other live game (a win versus Wright State). Tonight's version of the Falcons is the team that fans want to see -- loose, confident and dangerous from all five positions. If this team shows up next month in Cleveland, they could make some noise.
And it would really help if we see more of Damarkeo Lyshe making three-pointers at the end of games, as we did tonight.