BOWLING GREEN - The Bowling Green State University men's basketball team won its 21st consecutive home opener, defeating Lake Erie College 63-53 Friday evening in the Stroh Center. Jordon Crawford scored 22 points, 16 in the first half, to led the Falcons to the win.
Bowling Green never trailed after the first five minutes and led by double-digits for much of the second half, but the Falcons could never put the game away with an offensive outburst. BGSU shot just 33 percent for the game, including 27 percent in the second half.
The Falcons won by dominating in two categories, free-throw shooting and offensive rebounding. While Bowling Green made just 60 percent of its free-throws, the team went to the line 21 more times than Lake Erie, making 21-of-35 shots. The Falcons also grabbed 20 offensive rebounds, holding a 14-5 edge in second-chance points.
Crawford made five of his first seven shot attempts, including three three-pointers, to spark the Falcons early. His final long range make gave Bowling Green a 26-19 lead with 4:29 to play in the first half. Lake Erie closed to within four points at 27-23, but Richaun Holmes and Anthony Henderson closed the half with jumpers to give the Falcons a 31-23 halftime lead.
The Storm tried to battle back early in the second half, scoring the first four points to cut the deficit in half. The Falcons, though, went on a 9-1 run highlighted by back-to-back thunderous dunks from Holmes and A'uston Calhoun that gave Bowling Green its first double-digit lead. From there, Lake Erie never got closer than seven the rest of the way.
Holmes came off the bench to put together an impressive performance in his debut in a Bowling Green uniform. The sophomore junior college transfer had eight points, four rebounds and three blocked shots, finishing with dunks three times. He also showed the ability to score from distance with his 12-foot jumper late in the first half.
Chauncey Orr and Calhoun had identical stat lines with seven points and seven rebounds each. Orr had a team-high five offensive rebounds and Calhoun blocked two shots. Crawford added five rebounds, four assists and three steals to his game-high 22 points. Cam Black, who has battled injury throughout preseason, saw 10 minutes of action off the bench, finishing with two points, two rebounds and a blocked shot.
In 98 seasons of basketball, Bowling Green improved to 86-12 in season openers. The Falcons will now head on the road to play in the NIT Tip-Off Tournament. Bowling Green will play games on Monday and Tuesday in Ann Arbor, Mich. hosted by the University of Michigan. The Falcons will play Cleveland State Monday at 6 p.m. and will face either IUPUI or No. 5 Michigan Tuesday at either 5 or 8 p.m.