There was improvement for Bowling Green this season, getting 16 wins and going 9-7 in the Mid-American Conference.
However, there was a lot of frustration as the Falcons (16-16) finished the season with three straight losses in March after going 7-2 in February.
The Falcons lost their final regular-season game by four points at Buffalo to fall to the sixth seed for the Mid-American Conference tournament. In a first-round MAC tournament game, played on Bowling Green’s home court, the Falcons lost by one point to Central Michigan, who would later fire its head coach. Bowling Green closed the season with an 86-69 loss in the CollegeInsider.com Tournament at Oakland (Mich.), a game in which Oakland’s Reggie Hamilton (39 points) and Travis Bader (21 points) combined for 60 points, making nine of 15 3-pointers and going 15-for-17 from the free-throw line.
Article continues below ...
Of Bowling Green’s 16 losses, 10 came by nine points or fewer, three at home and seven on the road. The main problem was being able to finish a game.
The Falcons lose three seniors from the 2011-12 team — forward Scott Thomas, guard Dee Brown and center Torian Oglesby.
Bowling Green does return three starters — forward A’uston Calhoun, who was the team’s best scoring threat inside; guard Jordon Crawford, who went through a rough stretch early in the season but was consistent for the most part down the stretch running the team from the point; and center Cameron Black, who is coming off a season in which he blocked 51 shots.
Louis Orr will start his sixth season as the Falcons’ head coach in 2012-13. Orr is 76-82 at Bowling Green with only one winning season. He has two more years left on his contract and would appear to be safe until that expires, but he will need results if he hopes to stay with the Falcons longer.
Bowling Green will need to replace Thomas’ and Brown’s scoring.
To do that, the Falcons will need production from forward Craig Sealey, guard Jehvon Clarke, guard Anthony Henderson and guard Chauncey Orr along with newcomers Spencer Parker, currently at Fishburne Military School in Virginia, and Richaun Holmes, currently at Moraine (Ill.) Community College.
If the Falcons can find the scoring and figure out how to close out games, they should contend for one of the top four seeds in the MAC tournament next season.
Two seniors leave big voids
–Bowling Green loses two players who scored more than 1,000 points in their college careers. Scott Thomas was one of the most versatile players in school history, and he finished his career with 1,261 points, 680 rebounds, 318 assists, 199 steals and 151 3-pointers. Dee Brown scored 1,065 points.
–The Falcons played a Syracuse-like 2-3 zone for the majority of the season, but Bowling Green was only 1-9 when allowing 70 or more points per game.
–With the graduation of F Scott Thomas, G Dee Brown and C Torian Oglesby, the Falcons lose 54.3 percent of their 247 steals in 2011-12. Thomas finished with 73 steals this season, tied for second on the school’s single-season list. Also, Thomas and Brown contributed 63.7 percent of Bowling Green’s 3-pointers this season, with Thomas making 59.
–The non-starters returning next season scored in double figures only four times last season. F Craig Sealey had three double-figure scoring games, but only one after the first two games of the season, and G Jehvon Clarke had 14 points against Michigan State in his best all-around game of the season.
FINAL RECORD: 16-16, 9-7, fifth in the Mid-American Conference East.
2011-12 SEASON RECAP: Bowling Green was floundering with a 9-11 record until starting the month of February. The Falcons went 7-2 in February, flirting with being one of the top four seeds for the MAC tournament. Bowling Green closed things out by losing its three games in March, two of them by a total of five points.
QUOTE TO NOTE: “I thought we had a good season. We were 9-7 in the league, and getting 16 wins, I thought we did some good things. Could we have done better? We let some close games slip through our hands, but overall I thought these guys did a good job and had a good year, and I wish (the seniors) the best heading on to the future.” — Coach Louis Orr.
STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL
THE GOOD NEWS: Bowling Green has a proven inside scorer returning in A’uston Calhoun and an experienced point guard in Jordon Crawford.
Calhoun and Crawford will be counted on to fill even bigger roles next season and both will have to improve their overall games, as they will be the focus of Bowling Green’s offense and also the focus of the opposition’s defense.
Calhoun must develop a consistent mid-range jumper he can use when teams take away his moves off the low block.
Crawford makes up for lack of size (5-feet-6) with quickness and his lack of fear. To take his play to the next level and be one of the top point guards in the MAC, Crawford needs to make better decisions, thus cutting down on his turnovers.
Crawford has 318 assists in his career. He should finish in the top five all-time at Bowling Green in assists.
As for C Cameron Black, he was the fifth offensive option this season, but he’ll have to improve on that for next season. At times he showed a soft jumper from the lane, but at 6-foot-10, he’ll need to be effective around the basket.
THE BAD NEWS: After Calhoun and Crawford, the Falcons are a very young team with only Black and G Luke Kraus averaging in double-digit minutes this season. Kraus was limited to only 14 games because of a broken foot.
KEY RETURNEES: F A’uston Calhoun needs 147 points to become the 40th player in school history to score 1,000 points. PG Jordon Crawford who enters his final season with 334 assists. C Cameron Black is a shot-blocker, but he needs to become a scoring threat.
–G Luke Kraus should be ready for his senior season after missing Bowing Green’s final 18 games of the season with a broken foot. With Kraus available, the Falcons will be a better defensive team, and they should be better in late-game situations with him on the floor. Kraus also has 3-point shooting range.
–Sophomore C Cameron Black has blocked 69 shots in his career, including 51 this season. He’ll need to average 45 blocks over the next two seasons to reach the top spot on Bowling Green’s career list.