YOUNGSTOWN - Bowling Green scored 17 unanswered points in a four-minute span early in the first half and cruised to an 81-59 win against Youngstown State yesterday.
The burst began with a Josh Almanson jumper at the
16:23 mark of the half and ended when Steven Wright stole the ball and broke ahead of the pack for a layup that made the score 26-6 with 12:42 still to play.
"We came out really ready," Bowling Green coach Dan Dakich said. "We came out offensively fast and really into our shots, and defensively we were after the ball. "
Almanson scored 21 first-half points on the way to a career-high 28 as the Falcons won for the fifth straight time following a season-opening loss at DePaul. John Reimold added 16 and Wright finished with 14.
The key to Bowling Green's first-half run was a stifling defense that forced the Penguins (2-4) to commit 16 turnovers in the first half, and the Falcons converted those miscues into 27 points.
"They have had problems handling people getting up in the passing lanes on entry [passes]," Dakich said. "We didn't want to give them an out. We didn't want to give them a place where they could throw the ball. A lot of times, against us, that [outlet] has been the post.
"We made an emphasis on not letting that be the place where they could get the basketball, and I thought everybody did a good job with that."
In BG's 17-point run the Falcons held Youngstown State without a shot for more than three minutes.
"Last year when we played them they were able to stuff [the ball] into the post," Dakich said. "We just made up our mind to work around and get in front of guys to not let them catch it, then get help on the back side. "
Almanson said the Falcons' low-post defense was a team effort.
"That was a big point of emphasis this week: playing post defense," he said. "Against Detroit, me and some of the other big guys were a little sloppy with our post defense, and we wanted to come out today and make a statement that we were going to lock down in the post.
"The guards were [coming] in from behind and helping, and everybody was coming to the ball. They didn't have much."
Almanson made eight of his first nine shots from the floor, including a long 3 with just three seconds left in the half.
"We didn't think they wanted to guard all over the court, and I was able to get some wide-open looks outside and inside," Almanson said.
Almanson helped the efficient Bowling Green offense make 51.4 percent of its shots from the field in the first half, and the Falcons committed only four first-half turnovers.
"We haven't been the greatest road team - we haven't been the greatest team for two years," Dakich said. "Any win we get like this is a welcome win."
Because of finals this week Bowling Green will return to action on Dec. 21 against Indiana-Purdue-Fort Wayne. Tipoff at Anderson Arena is set for 7 p.m.
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