Falcons Ready for the MAC - 13abc.com Toledo (OH) News, Weather and Sports

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Falcons Ready for the MAC

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* Bowling Green and Central Michigan open MAC play Wednesday at 7 p.m.
* The Falcons are looking for their first road win of the season after starting with four road losses.
* BGSU has won two consecutive MAC openers and are 4-1 in league openers under Head Coach Louis Orr.
* BGSU has gone just 1-4 in road conference openers in the past five years.
* Richaun Holmes ranks 19th in the country in blocked shots at 2.7 per contest.
* Richaun Holmes is blocking 16.4 percent of opponent's shots when he is on the floor -- third-best in the country.
* Richaun Holmes is on pace to block 83 shots in the regular season, 24 more than the school record.
* Jordon Crawford has made 21 of his last 23 free-throws after making just 9-of-19 attempts to start the year.
* BGSU had at least 10 steals in each of the past two games, including a season-best 11 at Temple.
* Bowling Green's bench has outscored the opponent's bench in 10-of-13 contests this year.
* BGSU is 4-0 when outrebounding its opponent.
* Jordon Crawford needs 11 assists to move into fourth all-time at BGSU in that category.
* Cam Black needs two blocked shots to move into the top 10 all-time at BGSU for a career.
* Richaun Holmes needs just two blocked shots to move into the top 10 in a single-season in BGSU history.
* BGSU has committed a MAC-low 11.8 turnovers per game. Kent State is second at 12.9 per contest.
* No BGSU team has averaged fewer than 11.8 turnovers per game since the 1982-83 team averaged 11.7.

Bowling Green plays its fourth consecutive road game, traveling to Michigan to face Central Michigan in each team's Mid-American Conference opener at 7 p.m. Wednesday. The Falcons have won MAC openers in each of the past two years and is 4-1 under head coach Louis Orr in the first conference contest of the year.

Bowling Green is 37-32 all-time against Central Michigan and the two teams split a pair of games a year ago, but the Chippewas came up with the biggest win in the MAC Tournament First Round in the Stroh Center. The last time the two teams played in McGuirk Arena, CMU pulled out a 69-64 victory on Feb. 12, 2011. Bowling Green last beat Central Michigan on the road during the 2008-09 season.

Despite 22 points and nine rebounds from A'uston Calhoun, the Temple men's basketball team rolled to a 75-57 victory over Bowling Green on New Year's Eve. The Falcons led 6-4 early but Temple scored the next eight and never looked back. The Owls led by as many as 29 points before the Falcons finished with an 11-0 run, seven points coming from sophomore walk-on Damarkeo Lyshe. BGSU did commit just 11 turnovers in the contest and had a season-high 11 steals as well.

Richaun Holmes set a career-high with six blocked shots at North Dakota and with another one against Temple, he now has 35 in the first 13 games of the season. He ranks 19th in the country with 2.7 per contest and is third in the country by blocking 16.4 percent of the shots taken when he is on the floor. Holmes is on pace to end the 31-game regular season with 84 rejections, which would shatter the school record of 59 for a single-season (Cornelius Cash in 1973-74). He had eight consecutive games with at least two blocked shots and five consecutive games with at least three before posting just one against Temple. Holmes also needs just two more blocked shots to move onto the top 10 chart for a single-season at BGSU (chart on left column).

Against Michigan State, A'uston Calhoun scored his 1,000th career point. With 935 points, Jordon Crawford needs just 65 more to tie him. They would become just the eighth set of teammates to reach the milestone in the same season. It would also be the first time that it's happened in back-to-back seasons as Scott Thomas and Dee Brown both did it last year.

Although neither of them rank among the top three on the team in scoring, Richaun Holmes and Anthony Henderson may have had the largest impact on the success of the team so far this year. Bowling Green has outscored its opponents by 36 points when Holmes is on the floor and 23 when Henderson is on the court. Those are the top two plus/minus ratings on the Falcons this year.

Senior forward A'uston Calhoun and senior guard Jordon Crawford currently rank as the second-highest scoring duo in the Mid-American Conference. Calhoun and Crawford have combined for 31.7 points per game to trail Toledo's Julius Brown and Rian Pearson at 32.7 points per contest. Kent State's Chris Evans and Randal Holt are third at 29.9 points per game.

Both A'uston Calhoun and Jordon Crawford are averaging at least 15.0 points per game. The last BG teammates to finish a season at 15.0 points per game or better were John Reimold (18.5 points) and Josh Almanson (17.2 points) in 2004-05.

Bowling Green is 4-0 when outrebounding its opponents this year. The Falcons are -2.8 boards on the season, but the team has outrebounded Lake Erie, Alabama Huntsville, Wright State and Samford by at least eight each.

Bowling Green is committing just 11.8 turnovers per game, easily the best in the MAC (Kent State is second with 12.9). In fact, no MAC team has ended a season with that few turnovers in more than seven years and no BGSU team has ended with that few since the 1982-83 team averaged 11.7 per contest. Overall, the Falcons rank 41st in the country in turnovers.

Under Head Coach Louis Orr, Bowling Green has won more than 80 percent of its games when its shoots at least 50 percent from the floor. A year ago, the Falcons went 8-3 in such games and are 37-8 in Orr's five years at Bowling Green when reaching that total. BG is yet to shoot 50 percent in a game this year.

Bowling Green went 5-0 a year ago when shooting at least 54 percent from the floor, defeating Temple, Malone, Western Michigan, Morehead State, and Kent State.

Bowling Green has had as many or more blocked shots than its opponent in 11-of-13 games this year, including a season-high 10 against USF. It marked the first time the Falcons had 10 blocked shots in a game since blocking 11 at Illinois State on Dec. 6, 2008. Sophomore transfer Richaun Holmes has led the way with 35 blocks, ranking third in the MAC.

Bowling Green's bench outscored eight consecutive opponents until North Dakota's non-starters put up 27 points and Temple's added 28. Despite the bench being outscored in both of those games, the Falcons still put up at least 21 points in both games, including a season-high 23 at Temple. Bowling Green has gotten at least 20 points from its bench five times this year and in each of the last three games.

Over the past five games, senior point guard Jordon Crawford has contributed much more offensively in the second half. He has scored just 10 first-half points during that stretch on 4-of-25 (16.0 percent) shooting, but has posted 49 points after halftime on 22-of-51 (43.1 percent) shooting.

One sign of a good team is the ability to win games when not playing at its best. Three times this year, the Falcons have won games when shooting below 40 percent from the field, beating Lake Erie, Wright State and Samford. A year ago, BGSU lost all seven contests when it show below 40 percent.

In just over one year, the Stroh Center has proven to be a difficult place for opponents to play. The Falcons are 4-2 this year at home after going 12-4 a year ago, including a mark of 3-0 against teams that eventually went to the NCAA Tournament (victories over Detroit, Temple and Ohio). The 16-6 record in the Stroh Center comes out to a .727 winning percentage, which is higher than the program's .709 winning percentage in Anderson Arena, the home for the Falcons from 1960-2011.

Earlier this year, Bowling Green held Wright State and Samford to 42 points or less in back-to-back games. It was the first time the team had done that in successive games since doing so against Loyola and Pepperdine on Dec. 22 and Dec. 27, 1949. It also marked the first time the team held back-to-back opponents to 83 points or less since holding Western Ontario and Miami to 82 points on Dec. 8 and Dec. 12, 1962.

BGSU is 6-0 all-time when scoring at least 70 points in the Stroh Center. The Falcons went 5-0 last year and defeated Detroit 70-65 this year.

While the school record for overtimes in a single game is four, Bowling Green played a triple overtime contest for the first time in 20 years against South Florida earlier this year. The last time the Falcons went that deep into the night came in a 91-88 loss to Ball State on Jan. 29, 1992. Overall, the Falcons have played in four overtime sessions already this year, the most since the team played four overtime games in the 2001-02 season.

Head coach Louis Orr's philosophy is always to play inside-out and the Falcons have done that well during his tenure. In the past four seasons, BGSU has scored 20 or more points in the paint in 96-of-107 games. The high-water mark came when Bowling Green scored 58 points in the paint against Malone a year ago.

BGSU head coach Louis Orr announced the signing of three student-athletes during the fall signing period. J.D. Tisdale (Flint, Mich./Swartz Creek High School), Zach Denny (Germantown, Ohio/Valley View High School) and Garret Mayleben (Milford, Ohio/Milford High School) will join transfer Josh Gomez (Brooklyn, N.Y./Rice High School/Iona) among next year's incoming class.

At 5-feet-6, junior point guard Jordon Crawford is likely the best player in the country at his height. Over the summer, Bleacher Report named him the best Division I player in the nation at his height. Crawford currently ranks fifth in the MAC at 15.5 points per game.

BGSU will play a minimum of three games on ESPNU and SportsTime Ohio this year. The Falcons hosted Michigan State on ESPNU on Dec. 18 and will host Eastern Michigan on STO on Jan. 12. The third guaranteed contest comes on STO on Jan. 30 at home against Akron. There will be 10 more MAC games selected to be aired on ESPN/STO throughout the year.

A'uston Calhoun earned East Division Preseason All-MAC honors by voting of 24 members of the MAC News Media. Calhoun was one of five players selected in the East Division, joining Buffalo's Javon McCrea, Akron's Zeke Marshall, and Ohio's D.J. Cooper and Walter Offutt.

Bowling Green was picked to finish fifth in the East Division by vote of 24 members of the MAC News Media. The Falcons were chosen ahead of Miami, while Ohio was selected to win the division, followed by Akron, Kent State and Buffalo.

College Sports Madness released its preseason All-MAC awards, naming A'uston Calhoun first team preseason All-MAC and Jordon Crawford third team.

A'uston Calhoun was named to the 2012 All-MAC Second Team by vote of the league's 12 head coaches after being named honorable mention in 2011. Calhoun ranked fifth in the MAC in scoring in league games (15.1 points per game), eighth in field-goal percentage (50.3 percent), and 12th in rebounding (5.4 per game).