Men’s basketball continues rolling with road win at Akron

Jason Jones and Jason Jones

Men’s basketball coach Louis Orr has been saying all season that his team’s most important game is ‘the next one.’ Coming into yesterday’s match-up with the Akron Zips, that was definitely the case. After a big 67-66 home win over Kent State last week, BG (17-11, 10-4 Mid-American Conference) entered the game in a three-way tie for first place in the MAC with Akron and Buffalo. With the stakes at a season high, BG shut down Akron (18-11, 9-5 MAC) with a 50-46 win. BG got off to a monumentally slow start to the game, scoring just three points in the game’s first 12 minutes and eventually falling behind 16-5. ‘I think we were playing our game outside-in instead of inside-out,’ Orr said. BG was able to pick themselves back up and finished the half on a 13-2 run that sent them into the break with a 24-22 lead. ‘We changed our offensive focus, but really our defense came up,’ Orr said. BG would continue to impress throughout the second half, holding onto the lead until the 3:44 mark, when a field goal down low gave Akron a 46-45 lead. The game then went stale for two minutes until Brian Moten hit a deep three-pointer for the go-ahead score, putting BG up 48-46. After a missed shot from Akron was rebounded and filtered back down court, Moten provided an exclamation point to his team’s big win by finishing a fast break with a dunk with only 0:07 to play in the game. Moten was BG’s top performer on the day offensively scoring 17 points for the game. Most impressive was the fact he scored the game’s final five points and had 15 of his 17 points come from three-point range. Nate Miller turned in another impressive performance as well with nine points and eight rebounds. The most impressive point on the day for BG, however, was their defense. Their defense held Akron to only 46 points on a 30.0 percent field goal percentage for the game including 28.6 percent in the second half. BG also managed to maintain the slower pace of the game they favor; giving up zero fast break points to the Zips. ‘I give credit to coach Orr. They controlled tempo, shot it at the end of the clock and then the zone bothered us,’ Akron head coach Keith Dambrot said. On a separate note, BG big man Otis Polk made history yesterday breaking the school record for career blocked shots. Polk entered the game tied for the record with Tom Hall at 117. With blocks in both halves, Polk now has 119 and counting. On a day in which BG entered in a three-way tie for first place, they now hold sole possession. Their 10-4 record in the MAC is identical to Buffalo’s, but because of a season sweep of the Bulls, BG owns the tiebreaker. ‘You feel good about these guys, and I’m just really happy for everything they accomplish,’ Orr said. BG still has full control of their own destiny, and if they were to win out, they would win the regular season MAC championship for the first time since the 1999-00 season. A regular season title, also, would guarantee them a spot in the post-season NIT. Next up will be a match up Thursday against the Miami RedHawks who currently sit at 9-5 in conference play. The Falcons will look to avenge a loss to Miami earlier in the season and to also keep moving closer towards one of the most improbable championships in MAC history.