BOWLING GREEN — The Bowling Green State University men’s basketball team broke out black uniforms for the first time in program history Tuesday.
And the Falcons rolled in their new threads, posting a 70-65 victory over the University of Detroit-Mercy at the Stroh Center.
“It’s something different, and it looks good,” said BG’s Jordon Crawford, who finished with a career-high 26 points. “But it wouldn’t say it was the uniforms — we played well.
“But it did get us excited before the game.”
Bowling Green evened its season record at 3-3 with its first victory over a Division I program. And it’s a good program as Detroit, which fell to 2-3, won the Horizon League tournament and earned an NCAA berth last season.
While Crawford was the only Falcon to finish in double figures, all 10 BG players who saw action scored. Ray McCallum led the Titans with 25 points, while Nick Minnerath had 17 and Doug Anderson 10.
While the new uniforms met with mixed reviews — the players loved them, while some fans prefer the school’s traditional orange and brown — they weren’t big factors in the victory.
One key for the Falcons was good shooting. In the first half BG made 56.5 percent of its shots, which helped it build a 33-19 lead with four minutes left in the first half.
“The thing coach always emphasizes is to shoot it with confidence,” said Crawford, who made 5-of-10 3-pointers. “When we get open looks, everybody is shooting it like it’s going in.
“That’s a confidence booster, when one goes in. Seeing that helps.”
But Detroit used an 11-1 spurt in the final four minutes to cut Bowling Green’s lead to 34-30 at the half. The Falcons’ problem in that span was turnovers, which the Titans converted into points.
But BG, which had nine turnovers in the first half, gave the ball up just once in the second half, which robbed Detroit of one of its sources of offense.
“I think we just made the right decisions and didn’t force things,” Crawford said when asked about the turnovers.
“We knew they would pressure us, but we relaxed and let the game come to us.
“We tried to hit the open man and didn’t try to force things.”
In the second half Detroit managed to take a 41-40 lead with 13:55 to play, only to see Crawford make a 3-pointer, get fouled, and convert the free throw to restore BG’s advantage.
While the Titans were able to tie the game with 9:48 left, the Falcons always had an answer offensively.
And in the final 4:25 Bowling Green forced Detroit to miss six straight shots before a McCallum basket with just 16 seconds to play.
“Our guys just dug in,” Orr said. “When we talked about whether we should go man or go zone, Luke Kraus said, ‘Let’s go man. We can guard them.’
“And I liked that. He took ownership of that, and the guys followed his lead and stepped it up.”
The Falcons made 9-of-10 free throws to close out a victory Orr called a, “Win of substance.”
“I thought the way we closed it out, especially on the defensive end and making our free throws, helps build character and substance for us,” he said.
Contact John Wagner at: firstname.lastname@example.org, 419-724-6481 or on Twitter @jwagnerblade.