Orr leads Falcons to exhibition victory

The Louis Orr era of BG basketball officially began last night at Anderson Arena in an exhibition game against Wayne State and ended on the right foot.

Behind some tough defense and a size advantage inside, the Falcons were able to notch a 59-44 victory over Wayne State, with their season opener against Western Carolina just one week away.

BG came out in the first half crashing the boards early and often. Their eight offensive rebounds in the half led to many second-chance opportunities which they took advantage of in building an early lead.

The defensive pressure against Wayne State was also a reason why the Falcons went into halftime with a 28-21 lead.

“Our foundation is our defense and rebounding and giving ourselves a chance to win and we did that tonight,” Orr said.

In the second half, Wayne State came out and played some tough defense, forcing four BG turnovers in the first two minutes. But the Falcons were able to out-rebound the Warriors and find ways to score. In the second half, BG never led by less than six points.

BG’s defense was once again the difference.

“In the second half I thought our zone defense really stretched the lead and made the difference,” Orr said.

Offensively, it was a rough game for both teams. BG and Wayne State shot 41 and 29.6 percent, respectively. BG also struggled from 3-point range, finishing the game at a mere 13.3 percent. The free throw line didn’t bring much luck either, as neither team had a percentage above 38.

Turnovers were also a problem for the Falcons. They finished the game with 19.

Nine different players scored in the game and guard Nate Miller led the way with 15 points on 7-of-18 shooting. However, forward Chris Knight put together the most solid night of either team, finishing with a double-double of 13 points and 13 rebounds in 33 minutes.

Knight played many roles for BG during the game, using his length and rebounding consistently on the defensive end and sometimes creating his own shots on the offensive end.

“I try to do everything. I just try to use my length to my advantage-jumping, just trying to tip balls to myself so I can get it for the rebound,” Knight said. “I just try to do everything.”

His coach approved.

“Chris did a great job,” Orr said. “He brought a lot of energy, got us going and just did a great job. Chris was just quick to the ball and was tough around the basket.”

Off the bench, center Otis Polk chipped in with nine points, and guard Ryne Hamblet had eight.

Although the offense wasn’t sharp the entire game, Orr found plenty of positives in the defense and even parts of the offense heading toward the start of the new season.

“We won by 15 [points] against a scrappy team whose guards deliver pressure and who play extremely hard,” Orr said.

“One of the things we talk about as a team, one of our identities is, we can’t let field goal percentage dictate winning percentage,” he added.