BG honors seniors at last home game

Reporter and Reporter

BG is looking to cap the month of February off the way it started — with a winning streak.

The Falcons won their first four games of the month, beginning with a slaughtering of Western Michigan 72-48 in Kalamazoo, Mich., on Feb. 1, before alternating two losses and wins heading into their final home game of the season Wednesday against Miami.

A win against the RedHawks would mark the first seven-win month the team has had since 2006.

The two met a little over a month ago in Oxford, Ohio, where BG (15-13, 8-6) handed Miami (9-18, 5-9) a 65-57 loss in front of its home crowd. Falcons point guard Jordan Crawford had the hot hand and scored a game-high 25 points on 10-of-13 (77 percent) shooting.

Mid-American Conference leading scorer Julian Mavunga (16.9 ppg) was the only RedHawk in double figures that game, with 17 points.

Miami’s offense goes through the 6-foot 8-inch power forward along with freshman guard Brian Sullivan, who is the only other player on the team averaging more than 10 points at 10.7 a contest — Sullivan leads the conference in three-point field goal percentage (48.1 percent) and is second in three-pointers made (75).

Mavunga can be just as domineering without the basketball as he is with it, as the senior also leads the conference at 9.1 rebounds per game.

“[Mavunga], a guy that affects the game in so many ways,” Coach Luis Orr in a press conference Monday. “He’s not only a force himself on the offensive end; he helps open things up for the other players and makes the guys around him better.”

The Falcons must duplicate the defensive clout displayed this past Saturday against Kent State, where they tallied a season-high 14 steals, which led to 17 points off fast breaks.

A bit different from the first matchup, both teams have a chance to improve their tournament stock in the final two games of MAC play. Miami is looking to earn home-team advantage in the first round of the MAC Tournament while BG is vying for a bye into the quarterfinals, which goes to the third and fourth place finishers.

The athletic department will commemorate the collegiate careers of seniors Scott Thomas, Dee Brown and Torian Oglesby before the game, which is something Orr couldn’t help but become a bit sentimental about.

“That’s one of the blessings of coaching, for me, is to see the growth of players,” Orr said. “When they come here they’re 17, 18 and 19-year-old young men really starting over again in a new environment, academically, athletically, socially, culturally. And to see them grow has really been a joy and privilege. Bowling Green has been a good fit for them and they have been a good fit for Bowling Green.”

Thomas needs one rebound to move into the top 10 in program history in career rebounds. He and Brown became the 38th and 39th players in program history to score 1,000 points earlier this season.

“They’ve been blessed to be a part of some good teams and good wins,” Orr said. “I’m a fan of theirs, I really am. To see the growth and the journey of these guys is truly one of the pleasures of coaching college basketball.”

Orr said he believes Thomas and Brown both have a chance to play basketball after college at the professional level.