ANN ARBOR — A dreadful scoring drought doomed the Bowling Green State University men's basketball team to a 69-50 loss to Michigan at Crisler Arena Thursday night.
The Falcons went the first 7:28 of the second half without making a field goal, missing their first 12 shots of the period. That allowed the Wolverines to expand a 39-31 halftime advantage to a 50-32 bulge and cruise to their second win of the season without a loss.
It was the first of four contests the Falcons (1-2) will play in the Legends Classic. The other three will take place Nov. 26-28 in Detroit.
“We've been pretty inconsistent shooting the ball,” BG coach Louis Orr said. “We have to play inside-out, and when we get the ball in to our big guys, they have to go strong to the basket and finish or get fouled.
“I thought we went through a stretch where we settled too quickly for 3-point shots. We're getting some good shots, but we have to be smarter, and we have to be tougher around the basket.”
BG held its own through much of the first half, and with three minutes left in the period, the score was 28-27 Michigan when Luke Kraus got the ball behind the UM defense and seemed poised to score on a layup that would give the Falcons a lead.
But the Wolverines' Zack Novak reached the basket at the same time as Kraus and blocked the layup attempt.
The play seemed to spark Michigan, which scored on its next four possessions — including a 3-pointer by Matt Vogrich and a pair of 3-pointers by Evan Smotrycz, who had three of his team's six 3-pointers in the half. The result was an eight-point Wolverine lead at the break.
BG's Jordan Crawford, left, and Luke Kraus try to beat Michigan's Zack Novak to the ball.
Tony Ding / ASSOCIATED PRESS Enlarge
“There were a few big momentum plays, and that was one of them,” Orr said. “We needed the points, but there was a swing [in momentum] after that. We've got to convert those baskets.
“There were a couple of layups that we missed in the first half that we needed to convert. But our whole team needs to play better offensively.”
A'uston Calhoun scored 14 of BG's 31 points in the first half to keep the Falcons in the game. But he missed his first four shots in the second half and had just two in the period, finishing 6-for-15 from the floor.
“I thought A'uston gave us a lift in the first half offensively,” Orr said. “He can score the ball. But I need him to do other things besides that.
“I'm not picking on him — don't get me wrong. He's got a lot of talent, and I respect his talent.
“But I need him to affect the game in more ways than scoring the ball. I need him to play big around the basket. We need points, but we need a lot of things.”
Dee Brown was the only other Falcon to finish in double figures with 12 points. But he made just 4-of-12 shots in the game, including just 2-of-9 in the second half.
“Everybody on the team was pretty confident — they all felt we could win this game,” Brown said. “Everybody came with the mindset of playing hard and knocking down open shots; we just didn't do that tonight.
“I think that is something that will get better as the season goes on. We need to keep working, keep shooting — keep taking open shots. They will fall.”
Meanwhile Michigan made 55.6 percent of its shots from the floor in the first half, including 6-of-11 from behind the 3-point line (54.5 percent). The Wolverines finished at 48.1 percent from the floor.
Smotrycz led Michigan with 14 points, while Jordan Morgan added 12.
“Them being 8-for-17 on 3-pointers [for the game], and spreading you out, makes it tough,” Orr said. “We knew we needed to get some more stops and score some more points, but we just didn't play well enough.”
Contact John Wagner at: email@example.com or 419-724-6481.