Errors cost Falcons in Chicago

Joel Hammond and Joel Hammond

Down to six scholarship players, the margin of error for the Bowling Green men’s basketball team has become unbelievably small.

Turning the ball over 14 more times than their opponent is not within that margin.

BG started quickly, but faded just as fast and were unable to mount another comeback, falling to Illinois-Chicago at UIC Pavilion on ESPN2, 83-72.

The Falcons, now 10-13 on the year, took another blow to their depleted roster this week as point guard Jabari Mattox tore his anterior cruciate ligament, and joins Germain Fitch and Josh Almanson on the end of the bench for the rest of the season. It showed.

The Falcons led by as many as seven after a Ronald Lewis basket made the game 13-6, and led 17-13 after the game’s second media timeout. From there, though, UIC went on an 8-0 to open up a four-point lead after one of five Jonathan Schniederman threes.

After BG tied the game on a Raheem Moss three-pointer minutes later, UIC used a 7-0 run to gain a lead they would never relinquish, a run punctuated by yet another Schniederman three to make it 32-25. The Falcons could muster only a John Reimold three and one Cory Eyink free throw in the last minutes of the half, and trailed by 12, 42-30 at intermission.

BG Coach Dan Dakich alluded to that margin of error on WFOB’s postgame show.

“We don’t ever quit, we just don’t do things right all the time,” Dakich said. “In our situation, we have to do things right all the time, and tonight, we put ourselves in a tough spot.”

Reimold scored five to open the second half and cut the Flame lead to seven, but that would be the closest the Falcons would get. If the injuries weren’t enough, Lewis, who took over the point guard duties with Mattox out, picked up his fourth foul with 17 minutes left in the game.

Kevin Netter hit a basket to cut the lead back to nine at 51-42 with about 13 minutes to go, but BG would not score over the next six minutes and watched UIC open up a 17-point lead at 59-42. That lead would grow to 20 after two straight dunks by Joe Scott. BG would climb back into the game late as Reimold scored 19 of his 22 in the second half, but UIC managed to make enough free throws to never let the game get close.

Schniederman and Aaron Carr led the Flames with 22 apiece, while Martell Bailey, who leads the nation in assists, had 12 points and seven assists. Reimold’s 22 led BG, while Netter tallied 18 and Lewis and Moss had 11 apiece.

The Falcons’ turnover problem was essentially the difference in the game, as BG out-shot and out-rebounded the hosts.