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HomeSportsBGSU
Published: Saturday, 12/2/2006

Big men leading the way for BGSU basketball

BY MAUREEN FULTON
BLADE SPORTS WRITER

BOWLING GREEN - Last weekend in Bowling Green State University's win over South Alabama, the Falcons' coaching staff was pleased with the production from its frontcourt players.

In addition to starter Erik Marschall's 10 points and six rebounds, Matt Lefeld and Otis Polk made big contributions off the bench.

Lefeld had one of his best collegiate games with 12 points on 5-of-8 shooting. Polk played just five minutes but had a basket, a rebound, and a thunderous, intimidating block. Marschall, Lefeld and Polk were a combined 11-of-18 from the field.

"I decided to go back to my hook shot. I've been working on that the past week, and it fell for me," Lefeld said. "I started getting comfortable, and it felt good."

Lefeld and the Falcons host Troy today at 2 p.m. at Anderson Arena, the first of two games in three days. Troy is the third team from the Sun Belt Conference BGSU has played this year.

Polk and Lefeld have also helped the Falcons' defensive effort. BGSU is third in the Mid-American Conference in points allowed at 61 a game and fourth in field-goal percentage defense (40 percent).

Coach Dan Dakich thought last week was one of Lefeld's best games, "in terms of both ends of the floor."

"We grade guys, and the defensive grade is usually guys are in the negatives, and he was in the positive," Dakich said.

Polk, a 6-foot-9 freshman from Detroit, entered early in the first half and threw guard Stephen Cowherd's shot attempt aside.

"He blocked it left-handed, which was pretty impressive for a right-handed kid," Dakich said. "What he did in that game is what we want. Otis was able to change the game defensively. He every day does something that makes you go, 'Wow, that's pretty good.'•"

Polk might not be as much of a factor today because of Troy's reliance on outside shooting. No one on the Trojans' squad is taller than 6-foot-8, and only one of the two players that tall plays. BGSU faced the Trojans on the road last year and won 60-52.

"We played last year, looking back on it, our best game of the year," Dakich said. "This will be the most athletic team from a quickness and jumping standpoint in the time I've been here to have been in our gym."

Troy's two leading scorers are transfers. Guards O'Darien Bassett (19.9 points per game) and Richard Chaney (15.6) are among four starters in double figures, with the other starter at 9.7 points.

The Trojans play a 1-1-3 zone defense that focuses on getting steals.

"We really haven't played against a zone, and when we have, we've been effective," Dakich said. "This is their defense, it's not just something they do to slow you down. This is a zone that a lot of teams in college basketball are starting to use, and it's a good thing for us to play against."

Contact Maureen Fulton at: mfulton@theblade.com or 419-724-6160.



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