BOWLING GREEN — Most college basketball fans know Jordon Crawford to be a pass-first point guard.
On Sunday Crawford showed the ability to both pass and score as he finished with 30 points and four assists in the Bowling Green State University men’s basketball team’s 73-60 exhibition win over Central State at the Stroh Center.
“I thought he was terrific scoring the ball,” BG coach Louis Orr said of Crawford, who had 20 of those points in the second half. “Based on this team, he has to do both: He’s got to score and run the team, because he can.
“It’s a credit to him, because I know how hard he worked on his game this summer, to be able to make the shots and the plays that he did.”
Crawford went 7-for-9 from the floor in the second half and made all three of his 3-point attempts to help the Falcons pull away.
“We’ve been talking in practice about establishing ourselves, making an impression,” Crawford said. “We wanted to come out and make the best impression that we could.
“We wanted to carry on what we’ve been working on in practice.”
A’uston Calhoun posted a double-double with 19 points and 14 rebounds for Bowling Green, while Craig Sealey backed Calhoun with 11 rebounds as BG outrebounded the Marauders 41-28.
Central State — a Division II program that plays in the Great Midwest Athletic Conference — was led by Demarku Isom Jones, who scored 19 points, while Ledonte Body had 15 and Rogers High School product Lee Tabb added 10 as well as a team-high seven rebounds. Waite High School product Khari Riley added seven points off the bench.
The win was far from easy for BG as the Marauders forced five ties in the first half and led 18-17 with 5:11 left before Crawford scored eight and Start High School product Anthony Henderson four to give the Falcons a 29-25 lead at the break.
The Marauders cut BG’s lead to 36-35 with 14:51 to play in the second half, but Crawford made back-to-back 3-pointers to jump-start a 12-3 run that put the Falcons in command.
The Falcons forced Central State to turn the ball over 24 times and allowed just four offensive rebounds as BG used a man-to-man defense for nearly the entire contest.
“Right now our man-to-man is our best defense,” Orr said. “We used our zone in special situations, but I don’t think it’s quite the same without Cam Black in the middle.
“Having A’uston in the middle makes it a different zone — maybe quicker and more athletic, but not as big.”
Black, who was in uniform but did not play, is considered day-to-day with a knee injury.
Luke Kraus contributed five steals and took at least two charges, while sophomore Richaun Holmes blocked two shots and gave the Falcons a defensive presence in the low post.
But the defensive effort wasn’t perfect. The Falcons allowed Central State to make 22-of-48 shots, including six 3-pointers, and BG never led by more than 15 points as it prepares for its season opener Friday at the Stroh Center against Lake Erie College.
“We have to keep working defensively,” Orr said. “Central State shot 50 percent from the floor in the second half and 45.8 percent for the game, and that’s too high for us.
“We also have to do a better job at the free-throw line, where we were 13-for-22 (59.1 percent). I like the fact that we got to the line, but we have to make our free throws.”
Another concern for BG’s offense is improved shooting from behind the 3-point arc. The Falcons made just 4-for-18 3-pointers (22.2 percent), missing their first 11 attempts; the six players besides Crawford who attempted a 3 combined went 1-for-12 (8.3 percent).
“We have to continue to shoot the ball and shoot with confidence,” Orr said. “The guy that made the 3’s [Crawford] hit the toughest ones. The other guys had open shots. From what I remember, we didn’t have many forced 3’s.”
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