|Front court key for Falcon men (01-07-14)|
|Written by JACK CARLE Sentinel Sports Editor|
|Tuesday, 07 January 2014 09:36|
Strong contributions from the front court have been key for the Bowling Green State University men's basketball team this season.
The Falcons, 6-7 in the non-conference season, open Mid-American Conference play Wednesday with a home game against Eastern Michigan. Tipoff is at 7 p.m. in the Stroh Center.
''It's a challenge. We look forward to playing every game hard,'' BG junior Richaun Holmes, who leads the team in scoring at 14.2 points per game, said about the MAC season. ''We're going to watch film, practice, work some kinks out, and just get ready to go as hard as we can over these next 18 games.
''I know a lot of people don't think we have what it takes,'' he continued. ''We work hard every day together and we know what we're capable of. We can have a good run throughout the MAC season.''
The 6-foot-8 Holmes, along with 6-10 senior Cameron Black, and 6-7 sophomore Spencer Parker, have played well inside on both offense and defense for the Falcons.
The three are averaging 34.5 points and 19.9 rebounds per game, and they have combined for 61 blocked shots, 38 assists, and 22 steals.
''Our front court has played big. They have shot a high percentage, and they have done a nice job on the defensive end with blocked shots and rebounding,'' BG head coach Louis Orr said. ''We have a pretty big front line ... Our size and athleticism in the front line with the blocked shots has been a good part of our defense.''
After playing last season primarily as a shot-blocker and a dunker, Holmes has expanded his game this year. He leads the team in both field goal percentage (.553) and free-throw (.743).
Holmes leads the MAC with an average of 3.1 blocks per contest, which is in the top-20 in the nation. Holmes also ranks in the top-10 in the MAC in scoring (tied for ninth), rebounding (seventh), field goal percentage (seventh) and defensive rebounds (fifth).
''There is not many more guys in our league athletically, basketball-wise and size-wise, that are more talented, in my opinion, just in terms of the whole package,'' Orr said about Holmes. ''He does have a good face-up (jump) shot. He has led the (fast) break a few times, handling the ball ... He's got to improve and challenge himself.
''He's gotten stronger, and his stamina is better,'' Orr added. ''I've been able to play him and Cam together; that's been a big plus.''
After battling injuries for most of his career, Black is healthy and is averaging 27.8 minutes per game. He leads the Falcons, averaging 7.7 rebounds a game, with four games of double-digit rebounds. He is also second on BG's career list with 119 blocked shots.
Black has his body in good condition, and is physically stronger and more athletic, Orr said.
''He is much more aggressive on the offensive end,'' Orr said. ''He gives us a low-post presence, and he's getting double-teams; people are paying a lot of attention to him.''
Parker was slowed by injury for the first part of his freshman season, playing in only 15 games last year. With a season-ending injury to Chauncey Orr, Parker has started the last 12 games for the Falcons. He is averaging 13.0 ppg and has scored in double figures 11 times this season. Parker has also gotten to the free-throw line a team-high 78 times.
''We, as coaches, knew he was a really good attack guy, and really good in the open court. There is probably not enough credit given to him on the offensive end,'' Orr said. ''He's getting on-the-job training; he's playing a lot of minutes ... He is playing within himself at the offensive end, and he doesn't settle. You could always see he had the ability to attack ... He was a guy who could get a rebound and go coast-to-coast.
''Defensively, he's beginning to understand our concepts, our rotations in man and zone,'' Orr said.
Also averaging in double figures for the Falcons are 6-1 junior Jehvon Clarke, 11.9 ppg, and 6-1 redshirt junior Anthony Henderson, 10.6 ppg.
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