BOWLING GREEN Bowling Green State University s leading scorer, sharp-shooting Martin Samarco, was 3 of 21 from the floor yesterday against the University of Toledo.
The Rockets outrebounded the Falcons 38-30.
And, for good measure, UT outshot the home team.
Now, based on just those three statistics, which team do you think won the game?
For the sake of accurate reporting, we ll tell you up front that BG won 59-52.
But the same question was posed to both coaches.
If you had told me before the game that was going to happen, I would have said we d better guard the heck out of them and hold them to 52, said Falcon coach Dan Dakich. Of course, I know it all.
UT s Stan Joplin wasn t in the mood to be so flippant with his reply after the Rockets fell to 1-4 in Mid-American Conference play.
The question was posed thusly: Knowing those three statistics ahead of time, could you have imagined losing the game?
No, not at all, Joplin said. Of course, if you had also told me we d have 24 turnovers I might have thought differently.
It wasn t just one person. It was turnovers by committee. It just wasn t good.
And neither were the Rockets.
That s 50 turnovers in the last two games by UT and, with back-to-back games coming up this week against Miami and Ohio, it is no longer too early to say that Toledo s season is on the line.
We had too many turnovers, too many breakdowns, Joplin said. The players complained they were being fouled, but you can t worry about that. You have to be strong with the ball. We had a lot of balls lost inside that cost us a lot of shots. Yeah, it was sloppy.
Mawel Soler, a 6-5 forward who led BG with 17 points, also had five steals, most of them in the paint. Steven Wright produced the same number of takeaways on the perimeter.
I think we were real aggressive, Soler said. We wanted to make everything tough on Toledo, work hard to cause turnovers and play offense off of that.
The Falcons outscored the Rockets 18-7 in points following turnovers.
That would indicate UT didn t create many miscues on the part of the Falcons and that would be accurate.
The Rockets entered the game leading the MAC in steals and turnover margin. Yesterday, before a season-high 3,281 fans in Anderson Arena, UT managed just two steals and forced 13 BG turnovers, only three of which came in the second half.
You have to play great defense to get steals and we didn t, said guard Justin Ingram. We had to pick things up and be more aggressive without fouling.
The fouls were basically even, but the results were not. The Rockets were whistled for 23 fouls to 22 against Bowling Green. But the Falcons canned 20 of 24 from the line while UT went 11 of 19, all in the second half.
The turnovers made a big difference, Dakich said. We had guys around the ball and sometimes you come up with things. Offensively, I thought we had a real focus on not turning the ball over. I thought Steven and Moon [Robinson] really competed and we used Mawel as a release to handle the ball against the press. They all did nice jobs.
STAYING CLOSE: Dakich felt the game s key stretch came late in the first half. The Falcons had given back all of an early 11-point lead and a flurry of 3-pointers by Allen Pinson and Sammy Villegas, both coming in off the bench, lifted UT to a 27-23 lead with under two minutes to play.
Another 3-pointer there and maybe it gets away, Dakich said. But we tightened up on defense, made a couple shots and were able to go in tied [27-27] at the half.
THREE-DOT DATA: The Rockets struggled to get any scoring punch inside. Tino Valencia scored six points in 22 minutes, Pinson s only points came on his trey, and Jerrah Young was held scoreless in 12 minutes Pinson played 14 minutes, had five rebounds, and altered several shots at the defensive end BG started the game on a 13-2 run and UT answered with runs of 8-0 and 11-0 during the first half UT s all-time series lead has been trimmed to 79-74 The Rockets have dropped three straight at Anderson Arena, where the Falcons are 5-0 in MAC games played on Sundays Since the start of the 2001-02 season, BG is 28-2 when holding foes under 60 points Robinson s five rebounds were a career high for the Falcons 5-9 guard BG won despite scoring a season-low 17 field goals, but 20 free throws and .833 shooting from the line were both season bests for the Falcons.
Contact Dave Hackenberg at: email@example.com or 419-724-6398.