JEREMY WADSWORTH Enlarge
BOWLING GREEN - It has been said that habits in life are formed after repeating an action for 21 consecutive days. The Bowling Green State University men's basketball team seems to be applying that theory to athletics.
During the last three weeks, BG has shown significant improvement while facing considerable challenges. The Falcons, who lost four of five before the new year, have won three of five and are surprisingly in the upper half of the standings in the Mid-American Conference East.
"I don't know how many [days] it is with a basketball team, but it takes time," Falcons coach Louis Orr said.
Orr, in his first year, can be afforded time. He has not made promises of a quick turnaround nor has he hinted at what his expectations are this year. Orr has simply preached the same philosophies from day one, and apparently his team is starting to conform. BG (7-8, 2-1) plays at Akron at 7 tonight. The Zips, 13-3 overall, are tied with Kent atop the East at 3-0.
"I learned a long time ago you can't be everything to everybody," Orr said. "You can't do everything great. You have to have a foundation, an identity, and I think we'll build in that direction."
It has not taken long for an identity to be established. BG leads the MAC in field goal percentage defense and ranks fourth in rebounding - two areas that Orr has stressed all along. The Falcons held Buffalo to just 40 percent shooting in an 83-70 win Thursday at home.
"Guys are really starting to believe," junior Brian Moten said. "[Against Ohio] we shot 30 percent, but we still won the game. We know as long as we stick with our defense the offense is going to come."
It's too early to determine whether the offense is about to take off. BG shot 53 percent against Buffalo yet converted just 42 percent last Saturday in a 63-49 loss at Kent. Returning to northeast Ohio today, the Falcons will be challenged by the MAC's top-scoring offense. Akron has won three straight, the most recent coming Thursday in a 55-54 win over Ohio (1-2 in MAC). East members Miami and Buffalo are each 0-3 in the MAC.
"We wish we could have got the win against Kent," Moten said. "It would have been great to be 3-0. But we'll take 2-1."
Moten scored a career-high 20 points against Buffalo, his third straight game in double figures and his fourth this season. Otis Polk picked up his first career double-double against the Bulls, scoring 13 points and grabbing 10 boards. Both Polk and junior guard Darryl Clements may have played their best games of the year against Buffalo.
"Now it's about being consistent and establishing winning habits," Orr said. "You have to establish winning habits."
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