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BOWLING GREEN — Bowling Green State University’s Chauncey Orr was brief and to the point when analyzing the Falcons’ 68-55 loss to Akron on Wednesday night at the Stroh Center.
"They just had us on our heels the whole game," Orr said of the Zips. "They attacked us, and they were aggressive on the offensive and defensive boards.
"That was the story of the game: They got up on us, and we retreated. That's why we got our butts kicked.”
Orr finished with 16 points for the Falcons, who fell to 7-13 overall and 2-5 in the Mid-American Conference. A’uston Calhoun had 11 points and 11 rebounds while Craig Sealey added 10 as BG lost for the fourth time in five games.
Zeke Marshall scored 15 points to lead Akron (16-4, 7-0), which won for the 12th straight time, while Demetrius Treadwell and Nick Harney each added 10.
Bowling Green’s struggles came at both ends of the floor. The Falcons shot just 33.3 percent from the field, including just 18.5 percent in the first half.
“Sometimes [teams] don’t like [it when times] are tough,” he said. “People talk about trials and tribulations building character, but it only builds [character] if you don’t quit.
“We have to be able to handle ‘hard,’ and we have to be able to handle ‘tough.’ We have to keep fighting. And we didn’t have that [in this game].”
Akron took command early, breaking a 9-9 tie with seven straight points midway through the first half. At one point BG went 1 for 10, allowing the Zips to lead 28-17 at the half.
“Our first priority was to get into people: To try and press up on them, and try to take them out of their game,” said the 7-foot Marshall.
The Falcons’ two leading scorers — Calhoun and Jordon Crawford — both struggled offensively in the first half. Calhoun was 2 for 11 on field goals in the half while Crawford was 0 for 6 and both missed four 3-pointers.
“You know when those two guys combined are the leading scorers in the league, you have to do a good job with them,” Akron coach Keith Dambrot said. “We felt we were strong enough to stop Calhoun with Zeke [Marshall] standing behind them.
“We used different people on Crawford and had some success. … We made him work for everything, and he didn’t have a great night. And they aren’t going to win if those two guys don’t have a great night.”
In the second half the lead fluctuated between seven and 10 points early before an eight-point run by Akron gave it a 50-35 lead with 10 minutes, 55 seconds to play. The Zips were able to expand the lead to as many as 20 by making 57.1 percent of their shots in the second half while grabbing eight offensive rebounds.
Coach Orr said the Falcons have no choice but to keep pushing forward, starting with Saturday’s home game against Ball State.
“This is an opportunity for people collectively and individually to lead,” he said. “We’ll bounce back.”
NOTE: Sophomore Jehvon Clarke did not play against the Zips after practicing Tuesday. He spent a majority of the game on an exercise bike trying to keep an injured ankle loose.
Contact John Wagner at: firstname.lastname@example.org, 419-724-6481 or on Twitter @jwagnerblade