Defense leads to Falcons win over SE Missouri State

Going by the offensive numbers, Bowling Green’s men played ugly Tuesday night.
Just 40 percent shooting from the floor and 15 percent from 3-point land usually doesn’t spell a win. But
it does when the defense plays as well as it did against Southeast Missouri State.
Zack Denny picked the pocket of J.J. Thompson, ripping the ball out of his hands, with 55 seconds left in
regulation and Bowling Green holding on dearly to a 56-52 lead.
Thompson, near the baseline to the left of the basket, was in position to pull the Redhawks within a
possession before Denny’s sly play, which all but ended any chance at a comeback for SEMO.
Bowling Green went on to hit its final six free throws in the last 39 seconds, picking up a 62-54 win
over the Redhawks in the Stroh Center to push it to 3-0.
The win marked a key point in the young season, as Bowling Green showed it can play a gritty,
down-to-the-wire style and still come off with a win. The Falcons had won their previous two games by 19
and 15 points, respectively.
Bowling Green was 9-13 in games decided by 10 points or less last season.
“We knew in order to win this game we had to do it on the defensive end,” said Falcons senior Richaun
Holmes, who finished with 14 points and seven rebounds. “Every game is not going to be pretty. We’re not
going to shoot the ball well every game. It’s important for us to win games like this, knowing when
things aren’t going our way we can still scrap and get the win.”
Bowling Green coach Chris Jans echoed Holmes’ statement.
“I told them in the locker room, ‘This is going to help us,’” he said. “We played against a team that
gave us multiple looks on the defensive end. It’s going to help that we’ve had more adversity than we’ve
had all year long in the three games.
“I need the experience as much as they do,” Jans said. “I’m going to make mistakes. I made some tonight
and I’m going to learn from them and get better. The best way to learn is when you’re winning.”
In a game where 11 Falcons played and 10 scored, Bowling Green struggled to find a rhythm offensively
outside of the first four minutes when it held a 10-2 lead — its largest of the game until late in
Spencer Parker played through much of the night in foul trouble, although he finished with 12 points and
four rebounds. Denny had nine points as the sharp-shooting sophomore was just 1-for-4 from 3-point
territory. Bowling Green finished 2-of-13 from 3.
But never mind those offensive numbers.
The Falcons forced SEMO (2-3) into 17 turnovers and out-rebounded it 38-30. Bowling Green had 15
offensive rebounds resulting in 17 second-chance points.
“I felt like overall it was our best effort of the year, even though the numbers won’t speak that in
terms of percentages,” Jans said. “… We really work on having active hands before they put the ball on
the floor. … We were disappointed because we didn’t think we were “handsy” enough (in previous games).
It’s been an emphasis in practice recently and I thought we did a better job of tonight than we had
previously of getting our hands more active and tracing the ball and contesting passes.”
The Falcons trailed 21-16 after a 3-pointer from Jarekious Bradley, who finished with four triples and 18
points, with 4:36 left in the first half. Bowling Green followed with a 10-2 run in the final 3:46,
highlighted by a fastbreak dunk from Delvin Dickerson and then a thunderous alley-oop from Jovan Austin
to Dickerson, giving the Falcons a 26-23 lead at halftime.
Bowling Green never trailed the rest of the way, although SEMO did tie the game three times in the second
“We know we’re not going to blow every team out,” Holmes said. “There are going to be games where we have
to grind to get the win. This game helps us more in the long run because we see we can still when games
when we’re not firing on all cylinders offensively. It shows we can win the game either way.”
NOTES: Bowling Green is 3-0 for the first time since the 1999-2000 season … The Falcons’ bench
out-scored SEMO 30-15 … Bowling Green held a 36-20 advantage in the paint … It was the first matchup
between Bowling Green and SEMO … The Falcons travel to Detroit on Sunday at 3 p.m.
Johnson 5-10 0-3 10, Bradley 5-12 4-4 18, Langford 1-4 0-0 2, Cleveland 2-7 0-0 4, Thompson 1-3 2-3 5, I.
Jones 0-1 0-0 0, Wallace 0-0 0-0 0, Calvin 1-3 0-0 3, Adeoye 4-6 4-4 12. Totals 19-46 10-14 54.
Parker 4-7 2-2 10, Orr 1-2 0-1 2, Holmes 6-14 2-5 14, Henderson 2-6 2-4 6, Joseph 0-2 0-0 0, Tisdale 0-0
1-2 1, Denny 2-7 4-4 9, Dickerson 3-8 0-0 6, Austin 2-4 3-4 7, Clarke 2-6 0-0 5, Mayleben 1-1 0-0 2.
Totals 23-57 14-22 62.
Halftime—Bowling Green 26-23. 3-Point Goals—SE Missouri 6-15 (Bradley 4-8, Thompson 1-1, Calvin 1-3, I.
Jones 0-1, Cleveland 0-1, Langford 0-1), Bowling Green 2-13 (Clarke 1-2, Denny 1-4, Parker 0-1, Holmes
0-1, Dickerson 0-2, Henderson 0-3). Fouled Out—Adeoye. Rebounds—SE Missouri 30 (Bradley 10), Bowling
Green 38 (Dickerson, Holmes 7). Assists—SE Missouri 10 (Thompson 5), Bowling Green 9 (Joseph 4). Total
Fouls—SE Missouri 19, Bowling Green 16. A—1,284.