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Published: Tuesday, 2/10/2004

Falcon lineup is still in flux

BY JOHN WAGNER
BLADE SPORTS WRITER

BOWLING GREEN - Steven Wright s status with the Bowling Green State University s basketball team remains uncertain as the Falcons prepare for tomorrow s home game with Ohio.

“He s practicing, and we ll see in practice,” BG coach Dan Dakich said yesterday. “Really, we re going to make a game-time evaluation of where he is. In my mind, quite frankly, I couldn t make a call on whether he will play Wednesday or Saturday, or whether he won t play. I don t know yet.”

The sophomore point guard was in street clothes for Saturday s loss at Western Michigan for violating a team rule.

Before missing that contest the Dayton native had played in 19 of 20 games, starting 16 overall and the previous nine in a row. On the season he averages 5.6 points, 3.9 rebounds and 3.7 assists per game.

Dakich admitted the timing of Wright s suspension isn t good for a team that has lost two in a row and four of its last five games.

“Any time you have distractions like Steven s deal, it detracts from the team. There s no question about it,” Dakich said. “I don t think any coach would deny that you don t need any distractions - early in the season, late in the season, I don t care when it is.”

The Falcons already have seen three players leave the program this season. Senior Jabari Mattox and sophomores Cole Magner and Keon Newson all left following BG s home game with Kent State Jan. 28.

In the case of Magner and Newson, the pair left in order to devote full-time to football. Magner had 11 points and four assists in five games, and Newson scored four points in three games after walking onto the team following the Motor City Bowl.

Both will be seniors on the Falcon football team this fall and were key players last year: Magner, a wide receiver, led BG with 99 pass receptions for 1,138 yards and 10 touchdowns while Newson, a defensive back, led the Falcons with 124 tackles, broke up 15 passes and forced six fumbles.

“Cole and Keon s deal - I don t know how else to explain it,” Dakich said. “It s kind of funny, walk-ons leave basketball teams all the time. If I bring 10 walk-ons on and eight of them leave, [is the headline] Eight people leave the basketball program - shut it down? ”

Mattox left the Falcons after not playing in six games following a loss at Ball State on Jan. 7.

The Bloomington, Ill., native played in 12 games this year after returning from a torn knee ligament suffered late last season; he totaled four points and 31 assists.

“Jabari s situation is two things: frustration on his part on not being able to play, and [graduation],” Dakich said.

While the situation regarding Wright s status may be frustrating, Dakich said he still enjoys being around his team.

Bowling Green s Lindsay Austin was named the MAC s West Division player of the week.

The senior guard from Cincinnati scored 20 points with 12 assists, 12 steals and 11 rebounds in two games against the MAC s top two squads.

Austin tied the league record for steals with 10 against Miami, then sank a basket at the buzzer to give BG a 69-67 home victory over Western Michigan.

On the season Austin ranks 29th in the league in scoring (10.1 ppg) and is third in both assists (5.50) and steals (2.75).



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