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The BG News
BG24 Newscast
November 30, 2023

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Second-half surge fuels BG victory

Cook three batches of minute rice. Vacuum the smallest room in your house. Watch a round of television commercials.

There isn’t much else that can be accomplished in the time it took for the Bowling Green State men’s basketball team to establish its supremacy over Bradley University in an 81-65 victory before 1,626 fans at Anderson Arena Saturday afternoon.

Three minutes to drain the optimism and put a kink in any hopes of a comeback after the Braves had pulled to within four, 39-35 with 17:42 left in the second half, which was the closest they had been since trailing 10-5.

But a three-point field goal by BG’s Steven Wright at the 17:30 mark pushed the lead up to seven and by the time the clock read 14:30, the Falcons had a 51-39 advantage — the largest lead of the game — and outscored the Braves 30-26 to provide the final margin.

It was the Falcons (2-1) second consecutive win over a school from Illinois, following Wednesday’s 63-51 victory over the University of Illinois-Chicago.

“Well, I thought this concluded a pretty good week for us,” head coach Dan Dakich said. “I thought that … with a week before we play our next game, I’d kind of like to play again in two days. I like this team. I like the way they’re playing.”

BG took a 34-27 lead into intermission as neither team scored over the final 2:43 of the half.

Wright, who scored 14 of his 16 points in the second half, said the team’s offensive efficiency in the second half was due to Dakich’s talk in the locker room.

“Coach told us we were standing on offense in the first half and he said that we needed to start moving more, and we’d start getting more open shots,” he said.

The Falcons got the message.

After shooting 33.3 percent in the first half, BG hit 58.1 percent of its shots, while turning the ball over just five times following 11 in the first half.

The Falcons shot 16-24 from the foul line and connected on nine of 20 three-point attempts.

Seniors Josh Almanson and John Reimold led BG with 22 points and six rebounds and 19 points and nine rebounds, respectively.

John Floyd chipped in with three steals, four points and eight assists.

Dakich said Floyd, playing in his first season with the Falcons after transferring last year, struggled early but has come on strong.

“He didn’t have the greatest month of October on in into November … I don’t know why but he did,” he said. “He has really turned his deal around here since we’ve started playing games, which is a lot better than a guy doing really well in practice and not doing any good in games.”

Bradley’s duo of 7-foot freshman Patrick O’ Bryant and 6-foot-7, 225-pound junior Marcellus Sommerville were held to a combined 23 points on 5-of-12 shooting from the field.

Dakich considers both players future NBA prospects.

“Germain {Fitch} had a real determination yesterday when we went through and so did {Eyink} when we switched guys around and ran their stuff,” Dakich said in reference to preparing for Sommerville, BU’s leading scorer.

“One of my coaches, Marty Ritcher, did an unbelievable job of setting us up defensively in this game,” he added. “All these guys work so hard … but Marty just had us in position and the kids did a wonderful job of executing it.”

Almanson, who has led the Falcons in scoring during the first three games, said Dakich has encouraged him constantly to dominate at both ends of the floor.

“It’s working out well,” he said. “I was able to get going in the second half a little bit … and I was able to get some open looks.

Almanson added that the team is coming together after a tough summer.

“Basically, everybody was so tired of last year getting beat game in and game out,” he said. “We’re really concentrating to get things done. After the DePaul game … a lot of people might have thought we were headed for a down year, but coach really challenged us to see what we would do this week.”

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