The Bowling Green Falcons arrived at the 2015-16 season with several new players and a new head coach. It was likely inevitable that consistency would be an issue, particularly early. The season's first week has provided a start lesson on just how volatile that inconsistency can be.
BGSU convincingly won their season opener by 18, then played shot-for-shot for a half with Cincinnati. However, the Falcons were outscored by 29 in the second half against the Bearcats. They followed that with an 18 point loss to North Dakota.
Today, the ball bounced back the other way. BGSU led for all but the first 3:22 of the game and defeated the Youngstown State Penguins 79-72 in Fort Myers, Fla. at the Hilton Garden Inn FGCU Classic.
YSU's Francisco Santiago sank a pair of three-pointers in the first two minutes of the game, as the Penguins jumped out to a quick 8-2 lead. Bowling Green answered with a series of their own treys. David Joseph, Spencer Parker and Wes Alcegaire combined to go 3-for-3 from behind the arc on consecutive possessions to give BGSU an 11-8 lead that they would never relinquish.
The Penguins were able to stay within one or two possessions until late in the first half. Bobby Hain dropped in a layup with 4:19 left in the half to pull within 33-29, but it was their last basket of the half. BGSU went on a 6-0 run, including another three by Alcegaire, to take their first double-digit lead of the game. They settled on a 39-30 halftime lead.
Alcegaire remained hot in the second half. His first two shots of the period were successful threes which gave BGSU a 45-33 lead. After Youngstown State went on an 10-1 run to cut BGSU's lead to three, Alcegaire drilled another three. YSU did not get within one possession for the rest of the game.
Of BGSU's final 19 points, they scored 11 from the free throw line. The Falcons went 11-for-16 from the charity stripe during the final six minutes.
The Falcons were efficient on offense throughout the game. They shot .456 (26/57) from the floor and .444 (8/18) from beyond the arc. They were also 19/28 from the free throw line. BGSU has 19 assists on their 26 made baskets and committed only 14 turnovers. The Falcons also dominated in the paint, as they outscored YSU inside 36-18.
Individually, Alcegaire and Rasheed Worrell had combined to score eight points and shoot 2-for-19 against Cincinnati and North Dakota. Today, they were 14-for-23 from the floor and scored 36 points. Alcegaire led all players with 21 points on 7-for-16 shooting (5-for-9 from beyond the arc) while pulling down seven rebounds. Worrell was a perfect 7-for-7 to earn 15 points in just 24 minutes. He played so well that BGSU outscored the Penguins by 20 points while he was in the game.
Three others scored in double figures for BGSU. Zack Denny continues to be a spark plug with a double-double. He scored 17 points and went 6-for-7 from the free throw line. He also secured 11 rebounds. Parker posted 10 points and six rebounds. Ismail Ali hit several important free throws down the stretch and was 7-for-9 at the line overall. He scored 11 and dished out seven assists.
Hain and Santiago led Youngstown State with 19 and 13 points, respectively. Hain also had 11 rebounds. Matt Donlan poured in 12 points, including four triples. YSU shot just 37 percent and was outrebounded 47-38.
Bowling Green is now 2-2 on the season and will face the Florida Gulf Coast Eagles at 7:00 pm on Monday night. FGCU is currently 2-1 with wins over Texas Wesleyan and Youngstown State and a loss to Ohio. FGCU plays North Dakota later tonight.