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BOWLING GREEN — Games against lower-level competition, such as the Bowling Green State University men’s basketball team had Saturday against Earlham, can be no-win propositions.
Oh, you may get a win, such as the Falcons did by a 102-49 margin at the Stroh Center. But pessimists would say a Division I team is expected to win this type of game in a blowout. If you don’t claim an easy win, that’s bad; if you struggle to win, well, watch out.
But it was hard to be pessimistic about BG’s romp against the overmatched Quakers, the Falcons’ first 100-point effort since a 103-78 victory over Urbana on Nov. 21, 2003.
“If you’re bigger, stronger, and more athletic than a team, you need to take advantage of it,” Bowling Green coach Louis Orr said. “And I thought we did that.”
Jehvon Clarke was one of six Falcons to finish in double figures with 17 points. Spencer Parker had 16 off the bench, followed by Anthony Henderson with 15, Chauncey Orr with 14, and Richaun Holmes and Cameron Black with 12 apiece.
Michael Parker scored 16 for Earlham, which considers the game an exhibition contest.
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The Quakers made a 3-pointer for the game’s first basket, and BG led just 6-5 at the first media timeout. But from that point the Falcons took command, using a 19-1 run spurred by a switch to a full-court press that rattled Earlham into 25 turnovers.
“Anthony Henderson wanted us to press at the start of the game,” coach Orr said. “When we talked about being aggressive, he said, ‘Want to press?’ and I said no.
“But when we came out, we didn’t have enough energy. … It was good for us to be able to use it, and it was good for us to be successful at it.”
The Quakers missed their first nine shots against the press and turned the ball over four times.
“We wanted to get a little more pressure on them and force the issue,” Clarke said. “We were relaxing on defense, and we didn’t start out as strong as we should have.”
At the half BG led 50-30, but the Falcons weren’t completely satisfied, especially with the first-half performance of the defense.
“We weren’t playing up to our full potential going into halftime,” Clarke said. “In the second half we forced turnovers and got into a [better] rhythm.”
Bowling Green scored the first 13 points of the second half and eventually built a 53-point final advantage, the largest margin of victory since a 114-52 blowout of Urbana on Dec. 22, 1999.
Bowling Green set a school record with 22 steals, and three veteran players — Clarke, Parker, and Henderson — posted career highs in points.
Still, Orr did find some areas where his Falcons could improve.
“I thought [Parker] got too many open looks at 3s,” he said. “Our initial point of defense was too low, so we need to do a better job there. And I didn’t think we rebounded as well as we could. They outrebounded us in the first half [21-16].”
NOTES: Chauncey Orr didn’t play in the second half because of a knee injury. Coach Orr said his son “tweaked” the knee in the exhibition game against Malone and aggravated it Saturday. … Clarke also had career highs in assists (eight) and steals (six) while turning the ball over only once. … Freshman J.D. Tisdale finished with nine points and six steals in his first collegiate game. ... The victory was coach Orr’s 500th in college basketball. He had 100 as a player at Syracuse, 210 as an assistant coach at three schools, and 190 as a head coach at three schools.