BOWLING GREEN, Ohio —- Last call!
The end of an era with the closing of the most intimidating arena in the Mid-American Conference and the home of Bowling Green State University, Anderson Arena will say so long to competitive basketball and the Falcons will move just down the street and make way for the new home the Stroh Center which will open in time for next year’s basketball season.
Eastern Michigan University waked into the arena focus and ready for business but that only lasted for the first half of the opening half. The Eagle ‘s final trip into the house that roars will be one that Eastern Michigan University basketball coach Charles Ramsey will want to put the experience behind him – the sooner the better.
Eastern Michigan University felt the sting of the closing door in their face as they dropped a 68-63 decision to the Bowling Green State University Falcons.
The Eagles came out at the start of the first half and established the perimeter game getting good looks and a good shooting performance from senior guard Jay Higgins and red-shirt freshman J.R. Sims.
Higgins found his shooting eye in the first half as he scored 12 points and all of his points came from behind the three point arc. Higgins finished the game with 15 points.
Sims started for the first time at point guard for Eastern Michigan University, he scored six points and had three assist in the opening half.
“It was a coaching decision,” Ramsey said about his choice to replace starting point guard Darrell Lampley with Sims. “He earned the right to start.”
Sims scored nine points for the Eagles and had three assist for the game.
The post play started strong but faded and so did the momentum, power forward Brandon Bowdry tried to include his team mates that play in the post area but Jamell Harris and Matt Balkema let passes slip through their hands for untimely turnovers.
Harris led the Eagles with four turnovers but he did have three rebounds under the offensive glass giving the offense another chance at getting points.
The second half both teams came back to the floor and the play from both teams seemed sloppy and out of sync.
Bowling Green State University basketball coach Louis Orr called a time out and said the magic words and they came out of the huddle a new team with a new focus.
He said after the game his team worked on a rotation substution and the players came in did a good job especially the effort on defense.
“We have a phrase that we use ‘14 strong’ and that is so suitable for this team,” Orr said about his team after the game. “We had guys that stepped up and we are truly a team and today were a good example of that.”
The Falcons bench players scored 42 points led by Mike Dabney who came off of the Falcon bench an unknown type of player and contributed 15 minutes and scored seven points.
“The coaches tell me to be ready at all time all the time I am watching their game and seeing what I can do when I get in so I played big in the middle,” Dabney said. “Making them drive the baseline so I have a better chance to block shots.”
“That is the first time that I have ever seen him. He was not even on our scouting report,” Ramsey said about Dabney. “I looked at the assistant coach and said ‘who is this?’ He has not played in the MAC so I can’t be to upset at the coaches.”
Orr said the defense wanted to limit the touches by Bowdry and it worked in the first half but the perimeter opened up and the Eagles took advantage of that by hitting 7 of 10 behind the three point arc.
In the second half the Eagles jump shot did not fall into the hoop but Bowdry became the main option for the Eagle offense, Bowdry finished the game with 24 points and 15 rebounds, his 33rd career double-double.
The Eagles made the game interesting with 1:30 left in regulation by making a small run, the defense put pressure on the Falcons creating a couple of turnover that the Eagles converted into points and getting the margin down to a one possession game.
The Eagles worked hard and got the foul calls which resulted trips to the free throw line but the Eagles could not take advantage of the situation.
“We fired up the first four free throws and we were 1 of 4 from the free throw line,” Ramsey said about the attempted comeback. “It is one thing to get it in there but the completion of the play is making the free throw.”
When the Falcons need leadership from the floor in the first half. Orr and his team looked toward the diminutive point guard Jordon Crawford, the 5-6 guard played the point with perfection. He was able to find his team mates for better looks at the hoop while being able to shake free from the Eastern Michigan University defense to get himself a wide open scoring chance.
“When I come in the game, I want to be a leader and get things rolling and get some sparks going when I come in, because that is my job,” Crawford said. “I am energized guy and try to get everybody involved, get the crowd on our side and make it smooth through out the game.”
“He did a tremendous job in the first half, he gave them a ton of energy,” Ramsey said about Crawford. “He made shots and he made plays it is what they needed and he delivered.”
Crawford torched the Eagles defense for 14 points, seven assists and getting to four rebounds. The Eagles had no answer for Crawford defensively, he was able to move without too much trouble cutting into the Eagles defense and losing his man in a screen set up by his team mates.
Eastern Michigan University leaves Anderson Arena far behind like the dust from the past, snow flakes that cover the ground and the bright light of the city by the interstate Bowling Green, Ohio with another defeat.
About the Author
Written by Mel Suiter
Graduated from Eastern Michigan University in 2002 and have been working as a beat writer for The Ypsilanti Courier covering Eastern Michigan University football and men's basketball during my school career and after graduation. I like the Mid-American Conference and the rest of the mid-major conferences.