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Awful’ half dooms BG

“Could you talk about your team’s play in the first half?”

The question wasn’t even entirely out of the reporter’s mouth before Bowling Green basketball coach Dan Dakich responded. “Awful.”

Quite bluntly, it was.

The Falcons came into last night’s game against Kent State with a chance to pay the Golden Flashes back for two years of dominance. A chance to sweep the season series over the Mid-American Conference’s best team.

They left the floor with a 73-67 loss. The final score indicates a tightly-played game, and a 19-7 run in the second half did turn a 53-40 Kent lead into a 60-59 heart palpitation.

The game was largely decided in the first half, however, when the Falcons dug themselves a canyon of a hole they ultimately could not climb out of.

“We lose the ball, drop the ball, kick the ball, throw it out until we get down 12,” Dakich said. “I know exactly what’s going to happen. I’m going to look at the tape, we’re going to see guys wide open.

“First play of the game, [John] Reimold’s cutting off of somebody, [Antonio] Gates is nowhere in the area, and we don’t get him the basketball. We have to get better at things like that.”

On back-to-back possessions in the first half, passes intended for Reimold and Kevin Netter glanced past them and out of bounds, contributing to nine first-half turnovers.

When the Falcons completed passes, it wasn’t where they needed them. BG desperately needed an inside presence, but made only a marginal effort to establish one in the first half.

Reimold, Cory Ryan, Jabari Mattox and Ronald Lewis spend most of the half with their sneaker soles stuck to the three-point arc. The Falcons’ three-point shot attempts outnumbered their two-point attempts 15 to 13.

BG wasn’t staying in a comfort zone, either. Only Ryan had anything close to success from three-point range in the half, going 3-for-5. The rest of the team was a combined 3-for-10.

Reimold, arguably the best three-point shooter on the team, was a glaring 1-for-6. He missed the only other shots he took for a dismal 1-for-8 and three points at the half.

BG was so glued to the long-distance shot in the first half, Mattox made the only two two-point baskets of the half. The Falcons were 2-for-13 inside the arc in the half.

Some of the credit has to go to Kent for shutting BG out of the low post. Netter and Cory Eyink were virtually neutralized in the first half. Eyink had zero points and two fouls, Netter had five points, all on free-throws, and two fouls.

Dakich, however, said it was as much a matter of players not seeing openings in the paint.

“It was our plan to go inside,” he said. “But we must have missed Netter four times, wide open, inside for lay-ins.”

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