BOWLING GREEN — The Bowling Green State University men’s basketball team has been looking for a third scoring option behind seniors Jordon Crawford and A’uston Calhoun, who have scored more than 53 percent of the team’s points this season.
The Falcons may have found a third option Wednesday night.
Chauncey Orr posted a career-high 18 points to help Bowling Green claim a 70-55 win against Kent State at the Stroh Center.
Calhoun and Crawford both were productive as Bowling Green improved to 7-11 overall and 2-3 in the Mid-American Conference. Calhoun posted a double-double with 12 points and 13 rebounds, while Crawford had 12 points, six assists, and four steals as BG reached a season high for points in a MAC game.
Randal Holt had 17 points — 13 in the second half — while Chris Evans added 13 for Kent State (11-8, 2-3).
While Calhoun and Crawford both played their typical roles in BG’s offense, Orr was a difference-maker in reaching double figures for the second straight game.
He gave much of the credit for his outburst to the two seniors.
“[My shots] came from A’uston and Jordon, our best two players,” he said. “When they are creating shots, that makes it easier for all of us.
“As our leading scorers, the focus is going to be on them. So [the rest of us] just have to step up and make shots.”
Orr did just that, connecting on 5 of 9 from the floor and 4 of 4 free throws. He was especially deadly from the 3-point arc, making a career-high four on just five attempts.
“He’s a good shooter, and he’s learning to trust his stroke,” BG coach Louis Orr said of his son. “He can make shots in practice, and sometimes he’s a reluctant shooter — we have to encourage him to shoot the ball.
“Jordon got him some easy looks. When Jordon drives the lane and kicks the ball out, and when our bigs are playing inside-out, it makes the game easier for guys on the perimeter like Chauncey and Anthony [Henderson].”
Bowling Green took hold of the game with an 8-0 run that gave the Falcons a 16-8 lead with 10 minutes, 35 seconds left in the first half, a streak that was fueled by 3s from Chauncey Orr and Henderson. BG finished the half on a 9-2 run to lead 35-22 at halftime.
Kent State’s Holt got hot in the second half, scoring 11 points in the first nine minutes as the Golden Flashes cut the lead to 51-44 with 10:39 left.
But after giving up 19 points in that span, BG got some stops and eventually led by as many as 16 to snap a two-game losing streak.
“That’s one thing we have lacked: Getting stops late,” Chauncey Orr. “That’s something we have to keep working on, to finish strong.
“We knew we had to man-up, get stops and rebound.”
A key for the Falcons was a switch to a zone defense that, while allowing KSU to score a few easy buckets, slowed down its offense and also produced some misses.
“I thought the zone in the second half helped,” Louis Orr said. “[Kent State] is fast and quick, and they have a lot of guys who can handle the ball. There were a few holes in [the zone], but for the most part it slowed down their dribble penetration.”
Contact John Wagner at: firstname.lastname@example.org, 419-724-6481 or on Twitter @jwagnerblade.