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HomeSportsBGSU
Published: Tuesday, 2/8/2011

BG coach working on players' minutes

Falcons struggling with rebounding

BY JOHN WAGNER
BLADE SPORTS WRITER

BGSU men's basketball coach Louis Orr. BGSU men's basketball coach Louis Orr.
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BOWLING GREEN -- When the Bowling Green State University men's basketball team sputtered to a 1-8 start to the season, coach Louis Orr madly shuffled his starters in an attempt to find a winning combination.

The Falcons used six different lineups in their first seven games before the team found a spark. Beginning with a mid-December win over Florida International, BG has a 10-4 record -- and has used just two different lineups.

While the lineup has been more consistent, the number of minutes players get has fluctuated based on performance, the needs of the team, and the match-ups against particular opponents.

For example, on the front line junior Torian Oglesby has seen his playing time increase as the season has progressed. The junior did not play in the Falcons' first four games, but since that time has increased to a point where he moved into the starting lineup Jan. 19 against Ohio.

Meanwhile freshman Craig Sealey, who started two games early in the season, has played just one minute in one of the Falcons' first nine Mid-American Conference games.

Orr said he hopes that he can find playing time for Sealey in the coming weeks.

"He's a guy that's getting better in practice every day," Orr said of Sealey. "He's earning my trust more every day. He's going to be very, very good.

"I'd like to try and find a way to play him and have him be productive because I think he can help us."

Freshman Cameron Black also has seen his playing time diminish. After starting the Falcons' first 17 games, Black has not started the last six contests and has played less than nine minutes per game in that span.

The Falcon forwards who have seen their playing time increase in recent games include Oglesby and sophomore forwards Danny McElroy and A'uston Calhoun.

Calhoun has averaged 14.8 ppg in MAC contests and 9.1 in nonleague games; McElroy has averaged 5.6 ppg in conference play and 2.5 ppg in nonleague games.

"I think Danny is finding his offensive 'sweet spots,' places where he can score," Orr said. "And A'uston [Calhoun] is one of those guys that you have to try and get him touches.

"With those two guys, if they're both playing well and generating offense, they are our two best offensive guys in the front court."

At the guard position Orr said the rotations are simple: it's either senior Joe Jakubowski or sophomore Jordon Crawford at the point, while the "shooting" guard is either junior Dee Brown or sophomore Luke Kraus.

"There are certain combinations that feed off each other, and there are combinations that do different things," Orr said. "Sometimes it depends on who is playing well."

Orr said the play of the Falcons' point guards has been a big factor in the team's recent success.

"When they are good and playing well, they make the game easier for everyone else," Orr said.

As the post-season approaches, Orr said he has considered shortening his bench.

"Honestly, I hope [I don't have to]," he said. "Our theme all year has been '14 strong,' so why shouldn't it continue to be?"

BOARD WORK: In the last two games the Falcons have been soundly beaten on the boards as Northern Illinois outrebounded BG 50-41 and Western Michigan outrebounded them 44-25, thanks in part to 18 offensive rebounds.

Orr said Bowling Green's reliance on a zone defense isn't the cause of the recent rebounding woes.

"We've had some good rebounding games, so this isn't new to us," Orr said. "I've coached teams that zone all the time and were among the better rebounding teams in the country.

"A good man-to-man team is a good 'help' [defensive] teams, so they have to be good weak-side rebounding teams. If you handle your weak-side rebounding you'll be a good rebounding team, whether you play zone or man-to-man."

CARDINALS COMING: BG will host Ball State tomorrow at Anderson Arena, and Orr said the Cardinals are a "solid" team that doesn't rely on gimmicks or tricks to win games.

When asked if preparing for a team like Ball State is easier or harder than preparing for a squad that relies on gimmicks, Orr said, "It starts with your own team -- you have to do 'you.' You have to put your stamp on the game. Our focus starts with us."

NATIONAL NUMBERS: Junior forward Scott Thomas remains among the national Division I leaders in steals per game. He ranks 16th nationally with 2.4 steals per game, while Crawford stands 44th with 2.0 steals per contest.

As a team, the Falcons rank seventh nationally with 9.5 steals per game.

Contact John Wagner at: jwagner@theblade.com or 419-724-6481.



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