A win’s a win for basketball

Nick Hurm and Nick Hurm

Bowling Green basketball coach Dan Dakich thought his team’s opponent last Saturday would be the best they would face all year. He said they had a point guard who could get the ball to his team better than anyone in the country, a great coach and were tough overall, with some of the best fundamental skills the Falcons would see all year.

He wasn’t talking about Mississippi, a Sweet 16 qualifier last season or Michigan, a former NCAA Champion. It wasn’t a MAC school either. It was Marist, a small Division I school out of Poughkeepsie, N.Y., members of the Metro-Atlantic Athletic Conference. That’s Marist, pronounced just like it’s spelled. Home of the Red Foxes who have an enrollment of 3,700 students.

“Nobody will believe me, but I watched every piece of film on every team that we play including Mississippi and Michigan and I felt Marist was the best basketball team that we would have played,” Dakich said. “They have the best skill of anybody and they are by far the most unselfish team. They’re tough, tough guys and they’re seniors.”

The players knew that Marist was for real. One of the most disappointing losses of the season for BG came last year was against the Red Foxes in Poughkeepsie. The Falcons committed 20 turnovers in an 86-69 thrashing of BG.

“Marist is a good team,” BG center Len Matela said. “They killed us last year. It was one of the worst times we had as players here at Bowling Green. We wanted to get a little bit of revenge for that.”

And the Falcons got their revenge by edging Marist 61-58. The crowd may have been smaller than Michigan, but to Dakich the win was just as big as BG’s 65-59 victory over the Wolverines.

“This was just a really good win,” Dakich said. “I love their style of play. That’s why I am kind of enthusiastic about beating them. They throw it around, find people and are totally unselfish with the ball.”

Dakich even went on about how Marist was better fundamentally than his squad and most other teams in college basketball.

“We don’t pass like they pass,” Dakich said. Very few team pass like they do. And they move better than us. We don’t move like they do.” The Falcons improved to 5-2 on the year. Marist, pronounced just like its spelled, fell to 4-2.