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September 21, 2023

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Men’s basketball falls to South Florida 75-61 on Saturday

Early foul trouble to big men Josh Gomez, Richuan Holmes and Cameron Black hindered the BG men’s basketball team in their 75-61 loss to the University of South Florida on Friday night.

“I have to give credit to South Florida. They came in ready to play,” head coach Louis Orr said. “This is a growing game for us going from Earlham to playing a team with these types of athletes.”

Holmes, who started the game at the power forward position, played only three minutes in the first half as he picked up two fouls early. That caused Orr to bring in Josh Gomez to replace Holmes.

Gomez did not see much action, as he played only seven minutes and left the half with three fouls.

Starting center Black played the most minutes out of the three big men with 13 minutes but then he picked up his third foul late in the first half as well.

“Our lack of depth hurt us,” Orr said. “I’m not making excuses but not having Chauncey [Orr] and Craig [Sealey] just shortens our team; against a team like South Florida you need all your horses.”

The Falcons came into the game with nine players that were dressed and able to play.

When their three big men got into foul trouble they were forced to play with a smaller lineup against a Bulls lineup that out rebounded them 24-19 and came away with five blocks in the first half.

“Their interior defense was a bit of a problem for us,” said point guard Jaevon Clarke. “When you can’t get inside shots it is hard to beat a team because you want to play inside out.”

In the second half the Falcons came out fast with a bucket by Black and cut the lead to five. The Bulls would then go on a 6-0 run and push their lead to double digits.

Clarke was missing his touch in the first half as he shot 2-12 but after two trips to the free throw line in the second half his rhythm seemed to click back on. He went on a stretch of scoring 10 straight points over a four minute span, getting the Bulls lead down to five points again.

“I just continued to be aggressive. I wasn’t as aggressive as I should have been,” Clarke said. “I just tried to put my team in a position to win.”

That was as close as the Falcons would be for the rest of the game as the Falcons looked flustered and frustrated throughout the second half. The game was never out of reach for the Falcons all the way through the last minute, but they could not make a big play to swing the momentum in their favor.

“Defensively we just laid down towards the end,” Clarke said. “We didn’t show any toughness down the stretch of the game.”

During the second half any time the Falcons got within striking distance, Bulls point guards Anthony Collins and Corey Allen Jr., came up with a big play. Whether it was a pass, dunk, three pointer or steal, those two point guards made the big plays in the final minutes to put the Falcons away. Allen Jr., finished with 19 points and seven rebounds.

“I thought down the stretch they made better plays,” Clarke said. “Whether it was Allen or Collins, they capitalized down the stretch and we didn’t counter any runs they made.”

The Falcons will be back in action Nov. 21 in Madison, Wis., for a matchup with the No. 20 ranked University of Wisconsin Badgers.

“We just need to build from this game on and hopefully we can get the win next time,” Clarke said.

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