BOWLING GREEN - Dan Dakich was right when he said his team could lose to anyone.
Yesterday Bowling Green State University gave Central Arkansas its first Division I win since the Bears moved up to that level, losing 72-58 at Anderson Arena.
BGSU, which shot 32 percent, was behind from the 11:32 mark of the first half on. Central Arkansas is in its first year of Division I play in the Southland Conference.
The Falcons (4-3) missed second-leading scorer Erik Marschall's inside presence. While BGSU had trouble finding and making inside shots, including layups, the Bears outrebounded the Falcons by 10 and scored 30 points in the paint. It was the first game Marschall sat out since breaking his foot on Monday.
Dakich and his team talked in the locker room for an unusually long 40 minutes after the game.
"Our team has to play hard every day when we come out," senior Matt Lefeld said. "We can't just rely on single players with talent, we've got to play every day for each other and play really hard. Today came with the week. We didn't have a good, hard week of practice. Guys weren't going as hard as they need to go. It carries over to the game."
Martin Samarco, the leading scorer in the Mid-American Conference, and Ryne Hamblet, the Falcons' No. 2 scoring option with Marschall out, were both off with their shots all day. Samarco shot 8-of-25 and Hamblet 2-of-14. Each missed several layups as well as 3-pointers. Samarco led all scorers with 19 points, snapping his streak of three consecutive games with 20 or more.
"Fred Campbell did an unbelievable job
defensively on Samarco," Central Arkansas coach Rand Chappell said. "He really made him earn his points.
"What we talked about on him was no 3s and no free throws, and we held him to 1-of-8 from the 3-point line and he only made two free throws. We did a great job of limiting him."
In front of a crowd of 1,163, Mitch Rueter led five players in double figures for Central Arkansas with 16 points.
In place of Marschall, Dakich first used Otis Polk, then Marc Larson, then Lefeld, who he stuck with. Lefeld played 24 minutes and couldn't finish many shots, but did get to the free throw line five times.
BGSU started off well on the boards, and then Central Arkansas (4-5) handily outrebounded the Falcons in the second half. Durrell Nevels had 12 rebounds and Fernando Johnson pulled down 11. Samarco was the top rebounder for the Falcons with six.
"Their inside, I don't want to say dominated, but you could," Dakich said. "They dominated our inside and at the end of the day that was part of the difference. But the other difference was their perimeter. They drove right past us when they wanted to."
Down nine at halftime, BGSU missed its first six shots of the second half and fell down 11. The Falcons then made four of six baskets to pull within two points, but UCA stretched its lead back out to 10. BGSU was down two again, 53-51, with 5:38 to play. But two bad passes, and a missed dunk by Hamblet on a baseline drive, allowed the Bears to stretch their lead to 10 again.
"They came with a purpose and I thought that they were just better," Dakich said. "They have had some really tough losses and we have had some good wins. I think their desire to compete far outshone our desire to compete today and that is disappointing."
Contact Maureen Fulton at: email@example.com or 419-724-6160.