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BGSU MBB Northern Classic Preview

Drake Harlett
DaJion Humphrey shooting a jumpshot

Following back-to-back losses, the Bowling Green men’s basketball team (2-2) looks to get back on track in the Northern Classic, which will be held at Place Bell Arena in Montreal, Canada, from Friday, Nov. 24, through Sunday, Nov. 26.  

The Falcons face off against the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers on Friday, before battling the Lipscomb Bisons on Saturday, with tipoff for both matchups set for 7 p.m. The Orange and Brown then close the Northern Classic by playing the Canisius Golden Griffins on Sunday, with tipoff set for 4 p.m.      

While they will not play BG, UNC Asheville and Wofford also are participating in the tournament.  

Matchup History  

BGSU has played against Western Kentucky 34 times, trailing the all-time series 11-23. The two teams most recently battled in 2019, with BG winning 77-75.  

The Falcons have never faced off against Lipscomb.   

However, BG has played Canisius 14 times, leading the all-time series 8-6. The two programs last battled in 2015, with the Golden Griffins leaving the Stroh Center with an 82-59 victory.  

Scouting Bowling Green  

Bowling Green enters the Northern Classic with a 2-2 record this season. While BG started with two straight wins against Chicago State and Arkansas State, they have struggled mightily in the past two games, 19 and 18-point losses to Oakland and Bellarmine, respectively. 

Through four games, the offense statistics do not jump off the page. The Falcons are ninth in the Mid-American Conference (MAC) with 70 points per game and eighth with a 43.7% field goal percentage.  

However, the three-point and free throw shooting struggles have been more concerning.  

BG is last in the MAC with a 27.6% three-point percentage and second to last in the conference with a 57.7% free throw percentage.  

While they started the season performing as one of the best defenses in the MAC, the Falcons have also cooled down on that end of the court. This season, the Orange and Brown allow 70.5 points per game on 45.1% shooting from the field and 39.7% from beyond the arc, which is second to last in the MAC.  

BG’s rebounding is middle of the pack in the MAC, as the Falcons average 36.3 boards per game and allow 34 boards per game, outrebounding opponents by a little more than two rebounds per game.  

Scouting Western Kentucky  

WKU enters the Northern Classic with a 3-1 record this season. The Hilltoppers have won back-to-back games, defeating Murray State, 86-81, and Kentucky State, 95-75.  

Through four games this season, the Hilltoppers have averaged 83 points per game, shooting 43.9% from the field.   

While they average the third most points per game in Conference USA (C-USA), Western Kentucky is shooting just 26.1% on three-pointers this season, which ranks last in C-USA.  

WKU’s defense has been above average, holding opponents to 72.8 points per game on 39.8% shooting from the field and 30% from beyond the arc. The Hilltoppers also force 16.3 turnovers per game, ranking second in C-USA in blocks per game with 3.75.  

Rebounding has been a strength of Western Kentucky this season. Through four games, they lead C-USA with 44 boards per game; however, they also rank last in the conference in opponent rebounding, conceding 39 boards per game.  

Scouting Lipscomb  

Lipscomb enters the Northern Classic with a 3-2 record this season. After losing their first two games of the season against Wichita State and Drake, the Bisons have won three straight games against Asbury, Tennessee Tech and Alabama A&M.  

The offense has been the driving force in their past three games, scoring 113, 96 and 106 points in the wins.   

This season, Lipscomb leads the Atlantic Sun Conference (ASUN) in field goal percentage (51.4%) and three-point percentage (41.3%). The Bisons also rank second in the (ASUN) in points per game with 88.8.   

Lipscomb has also demonstrated good ball security this season, committing just 10.6 turnovers per game, which leads the ASUN.   

Defensively, Lipscomb has not been as dominant. They rank last in the ASUN in points per game allowed with 76.2, allowing an opponent field goal and three-point percentage of 43.5% and 33%, respectively.  

Rebounding has been a major weakness for the Bisons this season.   

Their 33 rebounds per game rank as the second-fewest in the ASUN. They also allow 38.8 rebounds per game, getting outrebounded by over five boards a game.  

Scouting Canisius  

Canisius enters the Northern Classic with a record of 2-2 this season. The Golden Griffins defeated St. Bonaventure and D’Youville while losing to Syracuse and Cleveland State. 

Through four games, Canisius has been one of the best offenses in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC).  

The Griffs lead the MAAC in three-point percentage, shooting 41.5% from beyond the arc. The Golden Griffins rank second in the MAAC with 79.3 points per game and a 47% field goal percentage.  

Canisius is coming off their best offensive performance in their 109-69 win against D’Youville. Against the Saints, the Griffs shot 54.5% (36-66) from the field and 52% (13-25) on three-pointers.  

Free-throw shooting, however, has been a major struggle for the Griffs. Through four games, they are shooting just 56.8% from the charity stripe, last in the MAAC.  

They have also struggled in the turnover category.  

Canisius turns the ball over 16.3 times per game, the second-worst in the MAAC in that category. They also only force 11.8 takeaways per game, leaving them with a -4.5 turnover margin per game.  

Defensively, The Golden Griffins have been solid this season. They allow 74 points per game on 42.1% shooting from the field and 27.3% from beyond the arc.  

However, rebounding has been one of the biggest strengths for the Griffs this season. They lead the MAAC with 42.8 boards per game and rank second in the conference with 14.3 offensive boards per game.  

Falcon Four Players to Watch  

DaJion Humphrey (Bowling Green #3)  

The senior guard from Detroit, Michigan, has been the only reliable three-point shooter for the Falcons this season.  

Humphrey leads the team and ranks second in the MAC with a 45.5% three-point percentage. He is the only Falcon shooting above 40% from beyond the arc and one of just two above 30%. 

Humphrey also ranks second on the team with 11.3 points and 1.5 assists per game.  

Brandon Newman (Western Kentucky #10)  

Following four years at Purdue, the redshirt senior guard transferred to WKU this season.   

This season, Newman leads the Hilltoppers in points per game with 6.5. He is also second on the team in points per game (12.0) and steals (6). Through four games, he is shooting 42.1% from the field and 33.3% from three-point range.  

Newman is coming off his best performance of the season, a 17-point and 10-rebound double-double in WKU’s win against Kentucky State. He led the team in both points and rebounds, shooting 5-10 from the field, 4-8 from three-point range and 3-3 from the charity stripe in 25 minutes.  

Derrin Boyd (Lipscomb #4)  

The graduate guard from Princeton, Kentucky, has been front and center during Lipscomb’s three-game winning streak and offensive outburst.  

Boyd has led the Bisons in scoring in the past three games, tallying 26, 22 and 25 points against Asbury, Tennessee Tech and Alabama A&M, respectively. Over the three games, he has shot 68.4% (26-38) from the field and 50% (8-16) from beyond the arc.  

This season, Boyd leads the team with 20.2 points per game, shooting 58.7% from the field and 43.5% from three-point range. He also ranks second on the team in rebounds per game (3.4) and steals per game (1.4).  

Frank Mitchell (Canisius #23)  

The junior forward, who had to sit out all of last season due to National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) transfer rules, is averaging a double-double this season with 11 points and a team-leading 10.5 rebounds per game.  

While Mitchell leads the team in rebounding and shooting percentage (66.7%), he has also committed a team-leading 15 personal fouls in four games.  

Mitchell already has two double-doubles this season and is coming off his best game in Canisius’ win against D’Youville, a 16-point and 12-rebound performance in just 21 minutes of action.  

Mitchell has led the Griffs in rebounding every game this season, grabbing double-digit boards in three consecutive games. 

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

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