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Off the Dribble: Do not press the panic button on the Falcons just yet

Drake Harlett

The Bowling Green men’s basketball (2-2) team started the first week of their season as well as anyone could have imagined, winning their first two games, highlighted by a dominant defensive performance in their season opener and impressive back-to-back performances by junior guard Marcus Hill.  

However, the second week did not go as well for the Falcons. In fact, it could not have been more opposite from the first week.  

In their first road game of the season, BG fell to Oakland 81-62 on Tuesday. The Falcons then dropped their second consecutive game, losing to Bellarmine 85-67 at the Stroh Center on Friday.   

While the Orange and Brown are currently on a two-game skid, they recognize that it is still very early in the season.  

“It’s a long journey. We got 32 games this season; you can’t give up after two straight losses. We’re going to be fine,” senior guard DaJion Humphrey said.  

Sophomore guard Anthony McComb III also emphasized that, although the past two games have been rough, the Falcons are not giving up on each other.  

“We have to continue trusting each other, trusting our game plan, just keep playing hard,” McComb said. “We got each other’s backs; we’re not losing faith in each other.”  

The biggest struggle for the team through four games has been obvious: lackluster shooting.  

BGSU is shooting 43.7% from the field this season, third to last in the Mid-American Conference (MAC).  

But the most glaring struggles for the Falcons have been shooting from three-point range and the free-throw line.  

BG is shooting just 27.6% from beyond the arc and 57.7% from the charity stripe, both of which rank last in the MAC.   

“We’ve got to be able to shoot the ball, and that’s the bottom line, we haven’t shot it well,” head coach Todd Simon said.  

Simon described the team’s three-point shooting struggles as a head-scratcher. However, he believes that success from beyond the arc will come.  

“Water finds its level eventually. If you’re supposed to be a 35% guy, you eventually get there,” Simon said. “We’re waiting for that barrage to come, and at some point, it will. But it just hasn’t quite been there yet.”  

Humphrey shared a similar sentiment, expressing that the team has to trust their work and cannot let their confidence falter.  

“It’s a trust mentality; trust your work. They might not be falling today, but they’re going to fall another day and another day,” he said. “So, you can never give up on your confidence.”  

While BG has shot just 27-98 on three-pointers this season, their free throw shooting woes may be just as alarming.  

So far, the Falcons have converted just 45 of their 78 free throw attempts.   

Yes, you read that right. BG has given away 33 free points from the charity stripe through four games this season.  

Simon described the free throw shooting struggles as perplexing.  

“Some of these guys are 80% guys that miss two, three, four free throws. You just scratch your head. Kind of like the three-point thing, like where’s the shooting gone,” he said. “Because it’s not who we are, it’s not who we look like. It’d be one thing if, you know, we’re missing contested things or whatever, but when you’re talking about free throws or really open threes, it leaves you bewildered a little bit.”  

However, Simon believes that the Falcons will sort the issues out, citing a lack of experience at the Division I level for many of the players on the roster.  

Simon also expressed that the Orange and Brown are currently on a learning curve, and what they are going through now will help them in the long run.  

“I think there’s a comfort level here of we’re in a learning curve. You know, we’re playing some tough [mid-major teams] to prep for, which is a little bit by design,” he said. “Bellarmine’s well respected, run unique stuff. Oakland’s well-respected, unique defense, run unique stuff. So, we’re seeing some things here early on that I think will pay dividends later.”  

Another issue for the offense that has not been talked about much through the first four games this season is that senior guard Trey Thomas, who Simon described as the teams’ floor general, has yet to play in a game this season due to injury.  

“That’s kind of impacted us. We’ve had to move some pieces around,” Simon said. “His ability to kind of get us in offense, get guys where they’re supposed to be, will impact the shooting as well.”  

While the offense has been a major issue for BG, the defense has faltered over the past two games.  

Across the first two games of the season, BG held Chicago State and Arkansas State to just 38% shooting from the field and 28.9% from beyond the arc.  

But, across the past two games, the Falcons have allowed Oakland and Bellarmine to shoot 53.3% from the field and 51.4% on three-pointers.  

“Obviously, we can’t be what we are defensively right now,” Simon said. “We’ve got to be able to kind of grit our teeth and get some individual stops.”  

The current defensive struggles were highlighted in BG’s last game when Bellarmine shot 28-48 from the field and 11-17 from beyond the arc.  

“We just lost too many one-on-one battles. There’s no scheme we can do if we don’t guard the ball one-on-one,” Simon said. “Bellarmine’s exceptional at moving and cutting and making you guard for 30 seconds. This is a great early season test of that, and we didn’t pass the test.”  

While the past two games for the Falcons, which have been 19 and 18-point losses, have not been pretty, to say the least, it is vital to recognize that it is not time to press the panic button just yet.  

Yes, the offense has struggled to find an identity so far. And yes, the defense, outside of the first game of the season, has yet to find consistency.   

But you have to take into account that this is a team with 10 new players, a new coach and a new coaching staff, and they are just four games into the season.   

Just remember, Rome was not built in a day. The team is currently going through growing pains, and sometimes, new teams just need more time and experience than usual before they hit their stride.  

Next up, the Falcons will head to Place Bell Arena in Montreal, Canada, to take part in the Northern Classic. The Orange and Brown will start the three games in three days by facing off against Western Kentucky on Nov. 24 before battling Lipscomb and Canisius on Nov. 25 and 26, respectively.     

For more stories related to BGSU Athletics, follow Falcon Media Sports Network on X (@bg_fmsn).

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Tyler Kavalecz, Sports Production Director

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