BOWLING GREEN - Joe Jakubowski grew up in Toledo, a city with plenty of Detroit Pistons fans.
Many idolized Pistons great Isiah Thomas, the feisty playmaker who led the Pistons to back-to-back NBA championships from 1988 to 1990.
That took place before the Bowling Green State University junior point guard ever dribbled a basketball.
But that doesn't mean Jakubowski will not
recognize Thomas when the Falcons play Florida
International University tonight at 7 at Anderson Arena.
"He's a hall of famer, one of the greatest point guards to ever play the game," Jakubowski said.
The Falcons (1-3) have dropped three straight games heading into the matchup with the Golden Panthers (2-6), who play in the Sun Belt Conference. BG suffered a 90-83 overtime loss to Wisconsin-Milwaukee Saturday on its home court.
Jakubowski considers it an honor to play against a team coached by Thomas, who is considered one of the 50 greatest NBA players of all time. Thomas, the first year coach at FIU, also coached the Indiana Pacers and the New York Knicks before he was brought in last spring in an attempt to elevate FIU's men's basketball team.
Yet Jakubowski, a St. John's Jesuit graduate, said the two point guards he grew up emulating were John Stockton and Steve Nash.
BG coach Louis Orr said he has known Thomas ever since they were in high school. Orr was a standout player growing up in Cincinnati and Thomas was a standout growing up in Chicago.
Orr said the game between the Falcons and the Panthers will be decided by the players on the court and not the coaches.
Jakubowski, coming off his best game of the season - 16 points, seven assists, one turnover - leads a Falcons team that has dropped three straight, including two by more than 20 points.
However, if there's a positive from their last game, it's six players scored in double figures for Bowling Green, which produced its
highest point total in a game this season. Otis
Polk and Scott Thomas are averaging a team-leading 10.8 points.
Marvin Roberts averages 15.8 points to lead FIU while Phil Gary has contributed 12.8 points per game and has recorded 19 steals in eight contests.
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