It's the hardest game every year to watch. For about 29 games, it's Toledo basketball all the way. And then they play Bowling Green, causing the involuntary flip-flop on jersey colors. When Malcolm Griffin makes an incredible shot, it requires some thought: is this a good thing or not?
Understandably, this is a bed I made and must therefore find a comfy spot to lay within. After putting a pillow between my knees, turning on my side, and sprawling about the mattress, it turns out that Bowling Green is a surprisingly fun team to watch.
In their third straight victory over the Rockets, BG appeared to play a sloooooooow tempo. They have an odd halfcourt setup; they'll swing the ball around the perimeter, almost needlessly forever, then suddenly, blam, there's the quick cut inside and before you know it ... Layupville or Dunktown. They had five slams, all thanks to Torian Oglesby (three, and all six of his points), A`uston Calhoun, and even Scott Thomas.
Calhoun was the standout of the game, because what a line: 21 points, 13 rebounds, four assists, two blocks, and two steals. Thomas used to be "the guy" last year. The Big Apostrophe is nbow becoming "the guy" now that he's ascended from bench catalyst to starter. And while his minutes have waned, Joe Jakubowski was playing like a senior who wanted to make it 4-0 in his regular season career against his arch-rival. (Toledo did top them in a MAC tourney game during that span). A Toledo native, Jak had a season-best 16 points on 4-of-7 shooting from beyond the arc, and also doled out four assists.
But let's be fair; Toledo was in this game for over 38 minutes. Even when being down by 10 early, they raced back and tied it several times, but sadly their latest lead was 3-2. Yet another brilliant game was put forth by Malcolm Griffin, who finished with 25 points and had the Sisyphean task of pushing his team up the hill little help elsewhere. But as the game wore on, this looked like a team who had played their third game in six days. Curiously enough, they only heavily rotated six guys, and it showed by virtue of many errant shots smacking the front of the rim. How Justin Anyijong gets one minute of playing time, when fresh legs and veteran leadership are paramount, is beyond me.
Bowling Green, who has won eight of their last 11, is now 9-11 overall and 4-2 in the MAC; Toledo drops to 4-16/1-5. A big uh-oh on UT's next six games: at Buffalo, at Kent State, home against Akron, at OHIO, home against Miami, at Ball State.
Buffalo 79, Western Michigan 68 — Triple blackjack! Normally having three guys score 21 points apiece is a very nice thing. But not when the rest of the team totals five points, and the other team is Buffalo.
But it was a true tennis match from start to just-near-the-finish, since there were nine ties and 12 lead changes. In the free throw denouement, UB drained many of their given one-point shots and that's what made the score look blowoutish. But WMU was quite adept at responding to the visitors' challenge, and that's why Flenard Whitfield, Demetrius Ward, and Juwan Howard Jr. all finished with 21. It also might've helped just a tad that Bulls forward/center Mitchell Watt's minutes landed in the teens thanks to foul trouble — and he bowed out with four minutes to play with his fifth whistle.
But ... do teams realize that if Zach Filzen gets open looks from three, he'll take them? He made 5-of-9 en route to a team-best 19 points, and Dave Barnett contributed with 16.
After a sketchy 0-2 start, UB has won four straight and share a first-place lead with BG. Western Michigan flails back to 3-3, still good enough for sole second place in the MAC West. And for those counting: East 2, West 0.
7:00 p.m. — Eastern Michigan at OHIO (Watchable online for free)
7:30 p.m. — Akron at Northern Illinois (SportsTime Ohio/ESPN3.com)