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September 21, 2023

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Falcons pull away late against Alabama A&M

The Bowling Green men’s basketball team used a late second half surge to pull away and defeat Alabama A&M Saturday afternoon.

Instead of calling a timeout when AAMU cut the Falcon lead to eight points with 15 minutes to play, head coach Chris Jans decided to let the players work through their problems.

He felt the team needed to experience what it was like to see a lead go away and fight through it.

“I could have bailed them out and called a timeout, but I felt like it was an opportunity for us with our players on the court to figure it out,” Jans said. “They righted the ship and got the lead extended.”

The Falcons would go on a run of their own and extend their lead up to 49-32 with ten minutes to play. From there the lead never got under ten points and the Falcons would go on to win their fifth game of the season 64-47.

Three Falcons scored in double digits, but Richaun Holmes led the team with 12 points and seven rebounds. Jehvon Clarke had 11 points and Pep Joesph had only three points but added eight assists and no turnovers as the Falcons improved their record to 5-1.

More important than the improvement to their record, this win gave them the chance to forget their loss to Western Kentucky on Wednesday.

“I think all of us wanted to get that taste out of our mouths. It was really about us today trying to improve from the loss and get better and I thought we did,” Jans said.

The Falcons took one day off after their loss to WKU and focused on watching film to see what hindered them in that game.

Senior Jehvon Clarke said a few things they saw on film that they needed to improve on were rebounding, playing defense for 40 minutes and sharing the ball.

The biggest improvement on paper came in the assists column. The Falcons tallied 19 assists on 25 field goals, a stat that Jans said stood out the most to him.

“I thought we were a lot more unselfish. We had a lot of selfish plays during the Western Kentucky game,” Clarke said. “From us learning from the loss of Western Kentucky it helped us today.”

AAMU came out defensively in a zone and in what Jans called a “nuisance” press. The press AAMU used didn’t force the Falcons into many turnovers, but it slowed their rhythm down enough where they looked stagnant on offense at times.

“I was excited to play their style of play because we haven’t been very good against the zone,” Jans said. “We haven’t been pressed a ton and when we have been pressed we weren’t executing at the rate that we need to.”

Despite, their sometime stagnant offense, the Falcons were able to keep their lead by getting stops on defense.

AAMU cut the lead to ten points at the 7:06 mark of the second half, but the Falcons locked down defensively and went on a 10-1 run spanning over three minutes.

Then with the lead pushed to 62-43 the Falcons went scoreless from the 3:25 mark until a layup from walk on Brandon Busutill with 30 seconds left to play. Despite going almost three minutes without a basket the Falcons gave up only four points.

“Our offense for the last few games has been stagnant. It’s kind of tough putting the ball in the hole sometime,” Clarke said. “Like I always hear growing up playing basketball, ‘your defense can never be off, your effort can never be off.’ So on nights like that when you aren’t shooting the ball as well, it is always a time when you can play defense to substitute those times.”

With this win the Falcons move to 5-1 and will travel to the University of Dayton on Tuesday, for a match against the host Flyers.

“I’m proud of our guys we responded well and at the end of the day however you get the W, whether it’s bad or good. It’s always good to get the W at the end of the day,” Clarke said.

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