Bowling Green's A'uston Calhoun shoots over New Orleans' Lovell Cook during the first half. Calhoun led BG with 16 points as the Falcons earned the nonconference win to improve to 11-15.
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BOWLING GREEN — The Bowling Green State University men’s basketball team played a nonconference game Thursday, and coach Louis Orr had one goal for his Falcons.
“This was a game where you didn’t want any letdown,” he said. “Our motto is, ‘Every game counts.’ Whether it’s conference or nonconference, it doesn’t matter.
“At this time of year you want to respond. We want to keep growing and building.”
There was no letdown for BG, which put together one of its most complete games of the season to pummel the University of New Orleans 87-56 in front of 1,517 fans at the Stroh Center.
There was little the Falcons did wrong against the Privateers. BG set a season high for points; it had 23 assists and just eight turnovers; it tied a season high with 13 steals and forced 17 turnovers, two short of its season’s best; and it outrebounded New Orleans 46-34 thanks in part to 18 offensive boards.
PHOTO GALLERY: Falcons pound Privateers
“We won the stats we needed to win: Points in the paint , scoring off their turnovers , getting second-chance points ,” Orr said. “We played the game the right way, and we had everybody contribute.”
The Falcons, who improved to 11-15, were led by A’uston Calhoun and Jordon Crawford with 16 points apiece while Chauncey Orr added 12 even though no Falcon played more than 25 minutes.
Cory Dixon scored 14 points and Rarlensee Nelson had 12 for New Orleans (8-15), which now is winless in its last 19 road games against Division I opponents.
The contest was close for much of the first half, although Bowling Green built a 20-10 advantage at the 12:02 mark. The Privateers cut the deficit to 20-16 with 9:44 to play, only to see the Falcons use a 22-9 finish to lead 42-25 at the break.
“I thought our transition defense wasn’t what it should be [in the first half],” coach Orr said. “They got numbers on us too many times.
“They shot 40 percent in the first half, and we allowed them too much dribble penetration.”
The Falcons wasted little time blowing out New Orleans in the second half, scoring on 10 of their first 11 possessions for a 20-5 run that gave them a 62-30 lead with 14:08 still to play.
“We had a lead, but we got early stops and were able to convert [them into points],” Orr said. “We were able to stretch the lead, and it was important to get off to a good start in the second half.”
From that point the only things to be decided were whether all of the Falcons would score — everyone but Craig Sealey did — and the final margin. It could have been worse than 31 points because the Privateers scored the game’s final eight points.
Bowling Green got good production from its post players as Cam Black and Richaun Holmes combined for 17 points; Black had eight points and Holmes nine.
“Good screens were set, and guys were looking for us more in the paint,” Black said. “We had a big size advantage, and we took advantage of it.”
The pair also were a force on the boards as Black had eight defensive rebounds, tying his season’s best, while Holmes had 10, including six offensive boards.
“The last two games I feel Cam has done a good job on the defensive boards,” Orr said. “He didn’t quite have the activity of Richaun on the offensive boards, but [Cam] did a good job on the defensive boards.
“And when Richaun is active … he nearly had a double-double. They can be a dangerous combination down the stretch.”
In short, it was a nice respite from rigors of Mid-American Conference play.
“I wouldn’t call it a break,” Black said. “I would call it preparing to get better. You want to continue to get better and strong and keep winning to build up for MAC tournament play.”
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