Falcons fall short against NIU

Fifteen to three and 10 to zero did them in last Saturday night in Toledo and 16 to six did in the Falcons two weeks ago in Mount Pleasant, Mich. Twenty-nine to five did in the BG men’s basketball team on Wednesday night in Dekalb, Ill.

These are all the scoring runs that BG has allowed en route to their last three losses to Northern Illinois, Toledo and Central Michigan, all of which were on the road.

In Wednesday night’s game, the Falcons trailed 40-37 with 15 minutes to go and proceeded to give up a 29-5 run over the next 12 minutes and wound up losing to the Huskies 73-51.

“There are three things that always happen during these scoring runs,” said BG coach Dan Dakich. “We turn the ball over and give them easy baskets, we miss free throws and make-able jump shots that as college player you have to make and they don’t miss.”

Turnovers have also been a big part of the problem the last few weeks. In the team’s last three losses, the team has turned the ball over 24, 23 and 21 times respectively.

In its only win in the past four games, the team turned the ball over nine times en route to a 10 point victory against Ball State on Jan. 31.

In Wednesday night’s game, the Huskies led the Falcons by four at halftime, 34-30, and were only down three after a Martin Samarco lay-up brought the deficit to 40-37 with 15 minutes to go.

For the next 12 minutes of the game, BG went 1-14 from the field, including shooting 50 percent from the line (3-6), and turned the ball over nine times.

“We’re making the same mistakes over and over again,” Dakich said. “It is very frustrating.”

The Falcons were shooting 52 percent from the field in the first half but followed that up with a 26 percent showing in the second half while Northern Illinois shot above 50 percent for the entire game.

“This game was determined by our defensive effort in the second half,” said NIU coach Rob Judson. “Bowling Green runs a very good motion offense and to hold them to 26 percent shooting in the second half is very impressive.”

Ryne Hamblet led the way for the Falcons with 11 points, with nine of those coming in the first half.

Mid-American Conference scoring leader Martin Samarco was held under his 20 point per game scoring average for the second straight contest by posting eight points on 2-10 shooting.

“[Martin’s] the only guy on our team that opposing teams recognize,” Dakich said. “The last few games you shut down Martin, you shut us down and that shouldn’t happen with the motion offense.”

James Hughes paced the Husky offense with 14 points off the bench. NIU had four players in double figures including Zach Pancratz posting 13, Ryan Paradise with 11 and Shaun Logan with 10.

“I feel more relaxed coming off the bench and I think I have more energy at the end of the game when I come off the bench,” Hughes said.

The loss marks the 15th setback in BG’s last 17 conference games – a losing trend that dates back to last season.

The Falcons will look to get back in the win column when they host Eastern Michigan tomorrow at 2 p.m.