Men’s basketball beats Western Michigan on road

Evan Hayes and Evan Hayes

Having picked up their biggest win of the season last week against Buffalo, traveling for a road contest against a struggling Western Michigan squad this past Tuesday could have been viewed as a minor annoyance for the Falcons. After all, they arrived in Kalamazoo in sole possession of first place in the Mid-American Conference, flying high off the first win over a ranked team in a decade.

But Bowling Green (16-6, 8-1 MAC) refused to play down to their opponent, taking a lead in the first half before pulling away in the second to cruise to a 85-72 win. The team is now 8-1 in conference play for the first time since the 1982-83 season, and their 16 season wins are a high of head coach Michael Huger’s tenure at BGSU with nine regular season contests left on their schedule.

“It’s always nice to win on the road. It’s so difficult to win on the road in the MAC. I didn’t want our guys to look at the record,” head coach Michael Huger said. “The biggest thing was not looking at the record of 0-8, and thinking that they can’t play. We didn’t take them lightly.”

Senior guard Antwon Lillard led all scorers with a career high 27 points and season high 11 rebounds, making 5 three-pointers and grabbing 2 steals. Junior guard Dylan Frye scored 20 points, dished out 3 assists and grabbed 4 steals, while senior forward Demajeo Wiggins recorded his fourteenth double-double of the season with 15 points and 10 rebounds.

Western Michigan (6-16, 0-9 MAC) came out hot in the first half, shooting 50 percent from the field while making 7 of 15 three-pointers, but the Falcons were able to control the lead up to halftime by out rebounding the Broncos 21-15 and forcing 10 turnovers, 6 of which came on steals, to take an early 43-36 lead. Western Michigan ultimately turned the ball over 22 times in the game, and Bowling Green capitalized by scoring 21 points off turnovers.

The Broncos struggled to make shots in the second half, going 12-28 from the field and 2-9 from three-point range. The Falcons were 12-28 from long range in the contest, and their hot shooting from beyond the arc over the last 13 games (126-294, 42.8 percent) has fueled the team’s success in conference. Bowling Green leads the MAC with a 43.7 three-point percentage in conference play.

“We came out and we fought from the beginning,” Huger said. “We had to clean up some things and we were able to make adjustments, and that was the difference in the game.”

The Falcons will return home this coming Saturday, Feb. 9, for the Battle of I-75 against rival Toledo. The game, which will air on ESPN3, is scheduled for tip-off at 6pm. BGSU’s 2008-09 MAC regular-season championship team will be honored during the ballgame.