BOWLING GREEN — The good news for the Bowling Green State University men’s basketball team was that it won its season opener.
The bad news was the Falcons struggled to beat Lake Erie College, a Division II team from the Cleveland suburb of Painesville, Ohio. Bowling Green didn’t shoot well and struggled with turnovers before claiming a 63-53 win at the Stroh Center Friday.
“A win is a win, and we’ll take the win,” said Richaun Holmes, who scored eight points with four rebounds, and three blocked shots. “But we know we have to work out some things in practice.
“It’s all about getting better. But we won the game, and we’ll take the win. We’re 1-0 to start, and we’ll keep working to get better for the next game.”
Jordon Crawford led BG with 22 points and added five rebounds, four assists, and three steals, but was the only Falcon to finish in double figures.
Lake Erie College, which will call the contest an exhibition game and not count it as part of its season’s record, was led by Riley Thomas with 11 points.
The Falcons never did pull away from the Storm in a game that saw seven ties in the first seven minutes. BG held a narrow 20-19 lead with 8:08 left in the first half before Crawford sank a pair of 3’s and added a free throw while Bowling Green held Lake Erie scoreless for almost five minutes to lead 31-23 at the break.
The Storm scored the first four points of the second half, but back-to-back dunks by Holmes and A’uston Calhoun sparked a 9-1 run that put BG in command.
Bowling Green struggled from the field, shooting 32.8 percent from the game, making 4-of-18 3-pointers (22.2 percent). Even Crawford struggled with his shooting, starting 5-for-7 from the floor before missing his last eight shots.
“You want to shoot better, but you can’t let your field-goal percentage dictate your effort and your defense,” BG coach Louis Orr said.
“We will shoot better. … But I give our guys credit: They didn’t allow their shooting to affect their effort or their defense.”
The Falcons were hindered offensively by 14 turnovers, nine of which came in the first half.
“We knew they would run-and-jump, and we knew they would pressure us,” Orr said. “But I thought they sped us up and got us uncomfortable.
“We had a bad stretch [in the first half], but in the second half we were better.”
Among the positives for the Falcons were the 35 free throws they earned and a 44-35 edge on the boards thanks to 20 offensive rebounds.
“We didn’t shoot [free throws] well, but we made 21 and we needed them because they outshot us from the field,” Orr said. “And we had 20 offensive rebounds, and we had 14 second-chance points.”
Contact John Wagner at: firstname.lastname@example.org, 419-724-6481 or on Twitter @jwagnerblade.