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Bowling Green clamps down on Ill.-Chicago

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Bowling Green's Perrick Robinson, middle, fights for a loose ball with UIC's Jovan Stefanov (4).

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BOWLING GREEN - Let's play the point-differential game.

Illinois-Chicago nearly beat Georgia Tech on Monday, finally losing by a single point to the third-ranked team in the country.

Then the Flames came to Anderson Arena and lost to Bowling Green 63-51 last night.

So that makes the Falcons 11 points better than the third-ranked team in the country, right?

Well, perhaps not.

But BG certainly was stronger defending Illinois-Chicago scoring star Cedrick Banks, who hit five 3-pointers on his way to 23 points against the Yellow Jackets. The Falcons held Banks without a field goal in 38 minutes last night and limited him to six points in cruising to a win that evened their season record at 1-1.

Illinois-Chicago is winless in two contests this year.

"The Yellow Jackets came here tonight, that's what I saw," UIC coach Jimmy Collins said. "I saw a bunch of guys go out there and play like the Yellow Jackets. If you want to compliment Bowling Green, just say they kicked our butt all over the floor."

Steven Wright, Germain Fitch and Mawel Soler spent time covering Banks, and the game plan was to chase him all over the floor and prevent him from taking shots.

"We knew coming into the game he was the focus of their offense," Fitch said. "If we wanted to win this game, we had to hold him [down]."

Bowling Green coach Dan Dakich said Wright set the tone by blocking Banks' first shot in the game's opening moments.

"When he blocked that shot, that's not going to intimidate Banks by any means," Dakich said. "But it sets a tone for your team. That was an important play for our team.

"On offense, rather than cutting just to move we were trying to cut to score," said point guard John Floyd, who had seven assists and eight points. "I thought we really accomplished that tonight."

In the second half the Falcons, who saw their halftime lead slip away in the loss at DePaul, held the Flames at bay. BG never allowed Illinois-Chicago closer than 12 points.

"When we went into the locker room at DePaul, I knew [DePaul] had missed a lot of shots," Dakich said. "When we went into the locker room this time, I felt we weren't giving up many good shots, if any."

As a result, the Falcons now are 8-0 in home openers under Dakich, as well as 26-3 in non-conference games under Dakich at Anderson Arena.

For the second straight game senior Josh Almanson led the Falcons with 17 points, while Wright added 13 and John Reimold had 11. Elliot Poole and Justin Bowen topped Illinois-Chicago with 12 and 11 points, respectively.

Contact John Wagner at:

jwagner@theblade.com

or 419-724-6481.

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