Exhibition matchups prepare Falcons for Air Force

Bowling Green State University men’s basketball coach Michael Huger has seen his team play two exhibition games, and now he has to separate the good from the bad.

At the Stroh Center Tuesday, the Falcons defeated Mansfield, 79-64, as 13 different BGSU players saw action. Last Friday, the Falcons fell to West Virginia, 73-57, in Morgantown.

“It definitely accomplished its goal,” Huger said. “We wanted to play a lot of guys, give them opportunities to see what they look like under the whistle. I was very impressed with what they did both days.

VIDEO: BGSU men top Mansfield 79-64 in exhibition game Tuesday

“There are some things we must clean up, so those are the things we must work on, but overall, I’m satisfied with the outcome,” he said. “It was fun seeing the guys, the energy, how hard they played, the defensive intensity that we can do at times and now we must get consistent on the defensive end.”

Against Mansfield, 6-foot-4 senior guard Samari Curtis had 14 points, two assists and two steals and 6-8 junior forward Rashaun Agee had a double-double 13 points and 13 rebounds.

Five-foot-11 sophomore guard Kaden Matheny scored 11, and 6-5 senior guard Leon Ayers III and 6-7 senior forward Gabe O’Neal put up 10 points each for the Falcons.

However, the Falcons were 3-for-19 from beyond the arc.

“Offensively, I liked the way we moved the ball,” Huger said. “I thought we drove the ball well. I thought we played inside-out (well).

“We didn’t hit enough threes — we need to make some more threes and take quality threes. Other than that, that was the one thing I saw we must work on was the inability to not get off shots.”

Curtis said it was a matter of not taking the open shot when it was available.

“We shared the ball a lot, but we just have to cut down on our turnovers. I think we were trying to make the extra pass, trying to be too unselfish and not shoot our open shots,” Curtis said.

Plus, the Falcons were up 46-30 at halftime, and were outscored 34-33 in the second half.

“We have to not play down to our competition, just stick to our principles,” Curtis said. “I think we let up once we saw the lead get up to 15 or 17, we could have pushed it to 25 or 30, but we just let up and got satisfied.”

Huger also liked the way the defensive effort, including the play of 6-3 freshman guard Anthony McComb III, who played 15 minutes.

“The defense, I liked our rotations,” Huger said. “I was impressed with freshman Anthony McComb — this was his first opportunity to get out there and play, and I was definitely impressed with what he did as a freshman.

“Coming in, his rotations were on point. He played hard, he played good defense and I like what he did out there as well.”

The Falcons outrebounded Mansfield 34-24, but BGSU had 15 turnovers and Huger thought those numbers could have been better.

“We have to be able to rebound the ball and we have to be able to limit our turnovers,” Huger said. “It’s two games now where we are at 15 and above in turnovers. That can’t happen.

“Previously, we were one of the top ten teams in the country in not turning the ball over, so we have to get back to that.”

Against West Virginia, BGSU was paced by Curtis with 17 points in addition to three assists, tied for the team lead.

Curtis was joined in the double-digit scoring by O’Neal who tallied 10 along with three rebounds. Agee also came one point shy of a double-double, finishing with nine points and a team-high 10 rebounds.

Matheny, a native of Morgantown, did a little bit of everything in his homecoming game with three points, three assists and three rebounds.

Six-foot freshman guard Willie Lightfoot chipped in seven points while 6-7 senior forward Chandler Turner added five rebounds for the BGSU effort.

The stat sheet rounded out with Ayers tallying three points and three rebound, Sam Towns, a 6-9 junior forward, added four points and two rebounds while 6-11 senior forward Madani Diarra logged two points and two rebounds.

Bowling Green High School graduate Isaac Elsasser, a 6-4 senior guard, had two rebounds and 6-3 senior guard Brenton Mills added one while 6-9 redshirt freshman Ubongabasi Etim saw time on the court as well.

The official start to the season for the Falcons will be Monday as Bowling Green hosts Air Force at the Stroh Center.

This will mark the first meeting in program history between BGSU and Air Force. The game is set for a 7 p.m. start and will be Heroes Day.

“I’m just looking for us to play hard,” Curtis said. “I think we can get a win, but we must play together and play really good defense.”

After hosting Air Force, the Falcons hit the road to face Oakland, Wright State, St. Bonaventure and Notre Dame.

“I’m still excited about what we can do, what we can accomplish,” Huger said. “I think with us sticking together, learning more, getting a couple of these early games under our belts, especially road games.

“We play four in a row on the road, so we’ll be battle-tested when we come back home. I’m just looking forward to the opportunity to continue play outside opponents and continue to win.”