Richaun Holmes and the Bowling Green Falcons await the Ohio Bobcats in a Saturday afternoon game that features two teams that are trending in different directions.
BG and Ohio split their home-and-away a year ago, with the Falcons winning in Athens in January last year while the Bobcats won at the Stroh, 72-61. The Falcons have won three straight games while the 'Cats have fallen in four of their last games.
Year one for Coach Saul Phillips has been rocky. Though not faced with a cupcake schedule, not many could have expected Ohio to start 5-7. Well, on the bench opposite Ohio on Saturday will be a Falcons team that boasts a 9-3 record, and a win over a good Kent State team who visited the Stroh Center on Wednesday.
Ohio comes in sitting dead last in the MAC in attempted free throws with 140 makes. Shot selection and a willingness to shoot long shots has been partly to blame in that aspect. Against a physical and defensive-minded Falcons squad, Ohio will have to attack the basket early and often and find its way to the free throw line and convert when presented with the opportunity. Maurice Ndour, with three double-doubles in his last four games will be tasked with much of that physical play early while going against the best shot-blocker in the MAC in Richaun Holmes.
The Bobcats will look to Javarez Willis to bounce back from a game in which he scored 15 points (just under his average) but in which he made just one of his eight 3-point tries. Stepping up big despite the loss was big man Antonio Campbell, who has commanded an increasing number of touches as of late in the post. A traditional back-to-the-basket big man who can step out and hit from deep, Campbell went from coming off the bench at the start of the season to playing major minutes and playing a vital role in the offense.
Bowling Green will be hoping for a hot start from several Falcons, three of which average nearly 10 points a game in Anthony Henderson, Jehvon Clarke and Zack Denny the last of whom will gather more and more respect as the season goes along. Denny, a sophomore from Germantown, Ohio, has put up 18 and 16 against Wright State and Dayton respectively. It's surprising considering that just a year ago, the young guard played just 31 minutes all year, mostly due to an injury. Saul Phillips' crew will have to keep an eye on forward Spencer Parker, who pumped in 16 second half points in BG's 66-64 victory over Kent.
Chris Jans and crew will look to get the best of the 'Cats while his team is feeling it. Saul Phillips just wants that first MAC victory marked on his resume.