Men’s basketball gets back to .500 in MAC play after defeating CMU

Sports Editor and Sports Editor

It was back-and-forth early, but once the Falcons pulled ahead they never looked back.

The BG men’s basketball team defeated Central Michigan, 71-58, at the Stroh Center on Wednesday night. The teams traded buckets early in the game, but the Falcons took the lead for good with 12:09 remaining in the first half after a three-point play by Torian Oglesby.

Despite never sniffing the lead for the rest of the game, the Chippewas hung around, thanks in large part to ferocious offensive rebounding. Central had 15 offensive boards in the first half – 25 for the game – compared to only six – nine total – for the Falcons.

“We started noticing in the first half that they were getting to balls a lot faster than we were,” said BG forward A’uston Calhoun. “Their guards came down in our zone, and that was a problem for our bigs, because we were boxing out their bigs, so their guards came down and had a lot of easy offensive rebounds.”

Calhoun led the way for BG with a double-double, 14 points and 11 rebounds. His game epitomized the efficiency that BG’s offense was able to operate with, making 4-of-6 field goals and all six of his free throws.

As a team, the Falcons went to the foul line 21 times, making 18 shots.

“I planned on driving to the basket a lot, and I was hoping I would get fouled,” Calhoun said. “So before the game I stood at the foul line and shot until it became second nature.”

Despite the multitude of second-chance opportunities given to the Chippewas, the Falcons were able to hold their ground defensively, allowing Central to make just 8-of-34 shots in the first half.

While the game’s tempo picked up in the second half, Central still only shot 36.5 percent for the game.

“You have to defend, and we held them to 36.5 shooting percentage and 4-for-17 from three,” said coach Louis Orr. “Those really exceed our goals and that’s the difference in the game.”

Part of the defensive challenge posed by Central is their three-guard system. The added speed on the floor proved to, at times, be difficult for BG’s post players, particularly on the offensive glass.

“The biggest challenge is in our zone, if they put up a wing player at the high post and our center or middle guy has to guard him one-on-one,” Calhoun said. “Especially for someone like Cam [Black] who’s 6-foot-9, 6-foot-10 and has to step up and guard someone who has a speed advantage.”

The win improves BG to 3-3 in Mid-American Conference play. The Falcons will once again put that record on the line Saturday as they continue MAC crossover play against Eastern Michigan in Ypsilanti.

Although the Eagles sit at 9-11 overall, they are tied for first in the MAC West with Ball State at 4-2.

However, the Eagles have lost to Central Michigan, and are coming off an 18-point loss to Buffalo.

Leading the team in scoring is guard Darrell Lampley at 13 points per game. He is the only one on the team to average in double figures scoring. While his 38.8 field goal percent and 32.3 three-point shooting percents are merely average, he is a near-automatic 87 percent shooter from the foul line.

Game time is scheduled for 6 p.m. and will be televised on Sports Time Ohio.