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Falcons fly high for first win of the Todd Simon era

Drake Harlett

BGSU men’s basketball (1-0) started their regular season and the Todd Simon era with a win, defeating Chicago State (0-1) 70-41 in their home opener at the Stroh Center on Monday night.  

“It was a lot of fun. Knowing where we want to go, you want to start that journey,” Simon said. “So, just to start that journey is special. This is a special place, so to get number one is certainly special.”  

Since arriving at BGSU in March, Simon preached to the Falcon faithful that this would be a fun and fast-paced offense. After a sloppier first half that saw the Orange and Brown turn the ball over eight times, the Falcons backed up Simon’s words, outscoring Chicago State 38-20 in the second half and giving BG fans a glimpse of what the new up-tempo Falcon offense looks like.  

“Fun night. A culmination of a lot of hard work these guys have been putting in from day one and a mindset and mentality that we’re trying to instill. I was proud of them,” Simon said.  

BG’s new-look defense was also on show all night, holding CSU to just 25% from the field and forcing 15 turnovers.  

“We’ve been harping defensively and rebounding, defense and rebounding and taking care of the ball, and I thought we embodied that. I thought we put a 40-minute game together,” Simon said. “That’s what we wanted to achieve. And I think we set a tone that there’s not going to be any easy buckets in particular when you come into the Stroh.”  

Here’s a look at how it all went down:  

First Half  

The Falcons started slow, missing their first three shots from the field and giving up two straight three-pointers, falling behind early 6-0.  

However, BG scored 11 unanswered points leading into the first media timeout, giving the Falcons an 11-6 lead eight minutes into the game.  

After Chicago State scored four straight points out of the media timeout, senior forward Rashaun Agee hit an emphatic one-handed dunk in front of the Ziggyville student section, extending BG’s lead to 13-10 midway through the first half.  

After another bucket from CSU, senior center Jason Spurgin and sophomore guard PJ Edwards hit back-to-back three-pointers, giving BG a five-point lead and forcing the Cougars to take a timeout.  

Both teams struggled to find consistent offense for most of the last 10 minutes of the second half. The Falcon’s defense, in particular, tightened up for the backend of the first half, holding Chicago State scoreless for the last three and a half minutes. 

Agee hit a buzzer-beater layup, capping a six-point run for the Falcons and giving them the 32-21 lead going into halftime.   

Second Half  

BGSU started the second half strong, as junior guard Marcus Hill hit back-to-back layups, giving the Falcons a 15-point advantage.  

After Hill split a pair of free throws from the charity stripe, Chicago State hit a three-pointer, breaking a scoreless stretch that lasted over six minutes.  

However, senior guard DaJion Humphrey knocked down a shot from beyond the arc to cap a 5-1 run for the Falcons, extending BG’s lead to 42-25 five minutes into the second half.  

The Falcons continued their momentum, extending their lead to 55-27 at the halfway point of the second half.  

BG would cruise for much of the second half, outscoring the Cougars 38-20 throughout the final 20 minutes of the game en route to the season-opening victory. 

Review of the Game 

In the second half, the Falcons shot 13-28 from the field while holding the Cougars to just 5-28 shooting from the field in the second half.  

On the night, the Falcons shot over 44% from the field but struggled from beyond the arc and the charity stripe, going just 7-25 on three-pointers and 8-15 on free throws throughout the game.  

BG’s stifling defense held CSU to just 13-54 shooting from the field and 4-16 from three-point range. The Falcons also forced 14 turnovers, five of which were blocks.  

Overall, the Falcons outrebounded Chicago State 47-38 while leading in assists 13-6.  

Statistically, Hill led the Falcons in scoring with 18 points, going 7-14 from the field and 1-3 from beyond the arc. 

“Marcus is an absolute hard worker,” Simon said. “He wants to be great, and that’s his best characteristic.”  

Hill stepped into the starting lineup for senior guard Trey Thomas, who did not play due to injury.  

“It’s next man up. We’ve worked on a lot of combinations. We’ve got a starting 12, not a starting five, and that’s got to be our mindset,” Simon said.  

Agee added 14 points on 7-10 shooting from the field while grabbing eight rebounds. Junior guard DJ Smith rounded out the double-digit scorers for the Falcons, tallying 10 points.

Senior guard Da’Shawn Phillip led the Orange and Brown with a career-high 10 rebounds while Edwards led with four assists in his first D1 collegiate start.

Defensively, Spurgin was the anchor of BGSU’s defense all night, blocking three shots while adding three points and six rebounds.  

Next Up  

The Falcons will return to Bill Frack Court at the Stroh Center on Saturday, Nov. 11, for the first game of the MAC-Sun Belt Challenge, a matchup against Arkansas State. First tip is set for noon. 

For more information related to the team, follow us on X at @bg_fmsn.


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