BOWLING GREEN - Bowling Green State University men's basketball coach Louis Orr made some chances to his team's starting lineup Monday night.
Out were two starters from last year, senior Joe Jakubowski and junior Dee Brown, as well as scoring machine A'uston Calhoun. In were Jordon Crawford, Luke Kraus, and Danny McElroy.
It took some time, but the move paid dividends in the second half as the Falcons rolled to an easy 81-55 win over Division II Ohio Dominican at Anderson Arena.
"I thought two of the guys who we inserted into the lineup - Danny and Luke - played with great desire [at Howard]," coach Louis Orr said. "Danny played with great passion and effort at Howard, and I like Luke's toughness and passion."
But BG's defense helped the Falcons outscore the Panthers 40-24 in the second half to even its season's record at 1-1.
Orr said the lineup switch was used in part as a challenge to the upperclassmen on the BG roster.
Ohio Dominican's Zak Kapron steps in to cut off Jordon Crawford's path to the basket.
"I said before the season that our players [on the court] needed to be more productive," Orr said. "I also said that all of the spots in the starting lineup were open.
"The guys who are the most productive - the guys who are getting things done - are the ones who are going to start. That's what you have to do with a young team that is still in the growing stages."
Bowling Green got double-figure production from five players as McElroy and Jakubowski each had 12 points, with Thomas, Crawford, and Calhoun adding 11 apiece.
John Trew had a game-high 13 points to lead Ohio Dominican (0-2), while Zak Kapron had 11.
The Falcons raced to an early 10-2 lead thanks in part to six points by McElroy, but the Panthers scored five straight points to pull themselves back into the game. Ohio Dominican used four 3-pointers to eventually get a lead and held a 23-19 advantage before the Falcons began a late run.
BG outscored the Panthers 20-8 over the final 7:45 to lead 41-31 at the break.
"Getting to start was a joy - it was something I've been working for," said McElroy, who had eight points in the first half. "Early on I just did what the coaches told me to do: Duck in hard and work for touches in the paint."
The Falcons' Jordon Crawford goes in for two of his 11 points as Bowling Green pulled away after a tight first half.
In the second half, it was all Falcons as BG turned a tight 41-36 lead into a 51-36 advantage with 10 quick points over a three-minute span.
After a Panthers basket by Zak Kapron, Bowling Green scored the next 19 points to put the game out of reach with 9:28 left.
"In the Adrian game we forced a lot of turnovers, but we didn't get many points from those turnovers," Orr said. "In this game we forced 23 turnovers, and we got 30 points off those turnovers for good production.
"But we got a lot of production in a lot of areas: We got 36 points in the paint, and our bench scored 38 points."
In that early second-half run the Falcon offense made 11-of-22 shots, including 4-of-6 3-pointers, while holding the Panthers to 4-of-17 (23.5 percent) shooting. What's more, BG outrebounded Ohio Dominican 16-9 while forcing seven turnovers and committing only two.
"It felt like we were finally clicking," McElroy said. "With all the work we had put in, it was a matter of time before the shots started falling."
Orr made a point of singling out Jakubowski, his lone scholarship senior, for his effort off the bench.
"Thought Joe had a great game," Orr said of Jakubowski. "He had a perfect line - 5-for-5 from the field, 2-for-2 on 3-pointers, eight assists and no turnovers. He played a great game."
The Falcons return to action Thursday with a contest at Michigan that tips off at 7 p.m.
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