Falcons will host Eastern Michigan Wednesday

The Bowling Green Men’s basketball team will face an opponent who is known for one thing: its zone.

Eastern Michigan University is and has been known for their zone for a long time now. The Falcons have faced a few zones this year, but none like what the Eagles will put on the floor Wednesday night.

Most teams use their zones in portions to disrupt the offense’s rhythm, force turnovers or to make the team shoot outside shots. The Eagles use it as their primary defense and will use it for the entire game. It is something the Falcons have not competed against this year.

Fortunately for the Falcons, they have seen the zone while scouting other teams like Ball State and Dayton. The 12-5 Eagles lost both of those games.

“We’ve seen them two or three times just by circumstance,” said head coach Chris Jans. “That’s what they are known for. They are long and aggressive. We are going to see 40 minutes of zone.”

The key to making teams come out of their zone is to hit the outside shot, but the Falcons have not been able to do that recently. They shot 20 percent against the University of Akron and 16 percent against Ball State, but that isn’t shaking the team’s confidence.

“We are confident we will hit shots when we need to,” said sophomore Zack Denny. “If the threes are falling, we can get it inside, try to get it in the foul line area and try to make plays from there.”

While shooting the ball well is a key, the Eagles have done a good job of forcing their opponents into tough shots. Their opponents are shooting 29 percent from behind the arc. Things don’t get much better for the teams when they go inside either as teams are only shooting 35 percent overall.

“It’s a very long, athletic and active zone. It’s not a sit back in the passing lanes and let them shoot the three’s zone,” Jans said. “They’re defending hard and they’re trying to turn you over, and it is something that they do every day so they are good at it.”

The Eagles are currently second in the Mid-American Conference, giving up 58.4 points per game. However, the Falcons lead the MAC only giving up 58 points per game.

“Like coach said in the locker room, even though we have to go against their zone they have to go against our defense too,” Denny said after their recent win against Ball State.

This game is likely to come down to who executes their defense the best, but this gives the Falcons another chance to earn a win at home before going on the road.

“We talked a lot about protecting our home court prior to the Ball State game,” Jans said. “We succeeded in reaching our goal of doing that, but obviously at this point in the season the games come fast and furious and we have another opportunity to have the same mindset against Eastern Michigan.”