BOWLING GREEN — The Bowling Green State University men’s basketball team’s claimed a 79-69 win over North Dakota Wednesday in a game that mirrored Richaun Holmes’ season.
The Falcons used a huge second half from Holmes and the rest of the frontline to hold off North Dakota, in much the same way Holmes has stepped up his game in recent weeks.
“He didn’t want to lose,” BG coach Louis Orr said of Holmes. “He stepped it up. If you want to be a great player, you need to turn it up [when your team needs it] — and he did that."
Holmes had two points, two rebounds, and one block in the first half before exploding for 19 points, 12 rebounds, and six blocks in the second. The junior’s 21-point, 14-rebound effort was his first career double-double, while his seven blocks tied the school record.
“I just wanted to be more aggressive,” Holmes said. “I think we all came with more aggressiveness in the second half.
“In the first half we were a little too lackadaisical, and in the second half we wanted to bring more intensity.”
Spencer Parker finished with 19 points and a career-high eight rebounds for BG (4-5), which also got 13 points and seven boards from Cameron Black. Jehvon Clarke added 12 points.
Troy Huff scored 19 points to lead North Dakota (2-6), while Jaron Nash had 17 and Josh Schuler 14.
The first half was a messy affair that saw each team commit 11 turnovers. The result was four ties and eight lead changes before the Falcons took a three-point lead at the break.
“I thought the majority [of those turnovers] were us not being careful with the ball,” Orr said. “We probably had, out of 21 turnovers, maybe three or four off the press. …
“I thought we were too loose with the ball in certain situations, and you can’t do that.”
In the second half the Falcons made an effort to pound the ball inside, and the result was 30 points scored in the paint.
Leading 40-38 with 13:28 to play, BG went on an 11-0 run — thanks in part to five points from Black and four from Holmes — and allowed North Dakota to come no closer than five the rest of the way.
BG’s strong second-half effort parallels the season of Holmes. After scoring 58 points in the Falcons first six games, he has contributed 65 in the last three.
“It’s a concerted effort to set more screens to get guys open,” Holmes said of his recent scoring outburst. “I think everybody is cutting hard, so that leaves me open at the rim; or two guys come to me and that leaves someone else open.
“It’s us playing together.”
While the points have gone up, so have the blocked shots — he has had 17 in the last three games after netting 11 in the first six — while keeping his rebound average at roughly six per game.
“Since I first got here, coach has been harping on me to be an ‘activity’ guy to help this team,” Holmes said. “He said the offense would come. I want to do whatever I can to help the team, so if coach says to run the floor, I’ll run the floor.”
When asked about his stat line after the game, Holmes smiled when he was told about his four assists, which more than doubled his career high.
“I always want to make it easier on my teammates,” he said. “If I see guys coming to me, and I see a teammate open, I want to get the ball to him.”
NOTES: Senior forward Craig Sealey wore a walking boot on his right foot after suffering an ankle injury at Xavier Saturday. His status is day-to-day. … Freshman walk-on Mike Gallagher was in uniform for the Falcons but did not play.