BOWLING GREEN — The Bowling Green State University men’s basketball team found itself short-handed for its game against South Florida Friday night.
An injury to starter Chauncey Orr, along with injuries that have kept players such as Craig Sealey and Zack Denny off the court, limited the Falcons to just eight scholarship players — three of whom played at least 37 minutes.
That lack of depth was a key factor in BG’s 75-61 loss to the Bulls at the Stroh Center.
“That really was a lot of minutes for our guys,” coach Louis Orr said. “Not having guys like Chauncey and Craig, two veteran guys, shortens our team.
“Against a team like South Florida, you need all of your horses.”
PHOTO GALLERY: Click here for more photos from the game
Jehvon Clarke scored 17 points to lead the Falcons, who fell to 1-1, while Spencer Parker had 11 and Richaun Holmes 10.
Corey Allen scored 19 points to lead South Florida (3-0), while Victor Rudd had 16 and John Egbunu 12 for the Bulls.
Bowling Green hung around for most of the first half, which saw six ties in the first 18 minutes. South Florida scored the last eight points of the first half to take a 35-28 lead into the locker room.
“With their size, they can wear you down,” Orr said. “We had two guys play 39 minutes, including Spencer Parker in his first college start.”
It didn’t help that the Falcons were plagued by foul trouble in the first half. BG was whistled for 13 fouls, including eight on the Falcons’ three centers, and South Florida was 9-of-16 from the foul line.
“We had to sit Richaun for 17 minutes in the first half, and every big guy had two fouls in the first half,” Orr said. “I thought our first-half trouble took the steam out of us.”
In the second half Bowling Green used a 10-point run by Clarke to shave its deficit to 45-40 with 13:08 left. He made just 6-of-24 shots in the game, while Anthony Henderson connected on just 4-of-15 as the Falcons shot just 35.9 percent from the field in the game.
“Their interior defense was a problem for us,” Clarke said. “When you can’t get inside shots, it makes it hard to beat a team like that.
“We tried to stay aggressive offensively.”
While BG was struggling to make shot, it seemed as if the Bulls couldn’t miss. South Florida made 15-of-24 second-half shots from the floor (62.5 percent) to finish with a 58.7 percent mark from the field for the contest.
As a result the Falcons came no closer than seven points the rest of the contest.
“They capitalized on every thing we did, and countered on every defensive move we made,” Clarke said. “We didn’t come out and play as aggressively as we should have, and it showed up on the scoreboard.”
Orr called the loss a “growing” game.
“There’s a big difference going from Malone and Earlham to playing a team with these kinds of athletes,” Orr said. “We can’t expect it to be easy.”
NOTES: Chauncey Orr was not in uniform for the contest after suffering right knee inflammation. His status is day-to-day. … With Chauncey Orr, Sealey, and Denny not in uniform, walk-on Josh Jones was added to the active roster.