With a road victory over Toledo already under their belts, BGSU men’s basketball will look to complete the sweep over their archrivals this Saturday at the Stroh Center. The Falcons won the first meeting between the two schools 85-79 about a week and a half ago. Justin Turner and Dylan Frye combined for 42 points on 50% shooting from the 3-point line. As a team, Bowling Green shot 46% from the field, and 52.4% from beyond the arc.
The Falcons do not necessarily need to put up those kinds of numbers again in this game to see a similar result though. That was one of the best shooting games for Bowling Green all season and they have proven they are more than capable of finding ways to win despite poor shooting.
All one has to do to figure that out is look at their most recent contest against Buffalo where they shot an abysmal 29% from 3-point land but were still able to pull out a 78-77 road victory.
So while another great shooting night would certainly go a long way towards victory, there are still other keys that can lead the Falcons to another big MAC win on Saturday night.
Limittheir 3-point attempts
Anyone that watched the first matchup between the Falcons and the Rockets could easily see that Toledo was not afraid to take shots from deep. Almost any player that steps on the floor for them has proven to be able to knock down long-distance shots. That includes 5-foot-11 center Luke Knapke who is shooting the long ball at 38% this season and was 2-for-6 against the Falcons earlier this year.
As a team, the Rockets have six players that shoot 3s at 35% or above, and currently rank No. 24 in the country in 3-pointers made per game. The Falcons need to get out on the 3-point line and try to force the Rockets to drive inside where they are much less comfortable. At the very least, they need to be sure that they are contesting every 3-point attempt from the Rockets. Letting them get comfortable from deep will spell disaster for the Falcons.
Slow down Marreon Jackson
Marreon Jackson has been fantastic so far this season for Toledo, averaging 19.2 points per game which is second in the MAC. Over his last five games the junior guard has averaged 26.2 points per game including a 36 point outburst in a win against Akron. Jackson is going to get his handful of points. That just comes due to the fact that he takes more shots than anyone else on the team. However, how well he shoots the ball often correlates to whether or not the Rockets are victorious.
In the previous matchup between Bowling Green and Toledo, Jackson shot just 38% from the field and 36% from beyond the arc. In the win against Akron where he scored 36, he was much more efficient, shooting above 50% from both areas. If the Falcons want to secure another victory against Toledo, they will have to make sure they keep the Rocket’s leading scorer in check.
Be patient on offense
It’s hard to nitpick at a team that has won their last eight straight games but if there was one flaw to point to for the Falcons, it’s that they can sometimes lack patience on offense. For the season, the Falcons are averaging 64 field goal attempts per game. That ranks No. 7 in the entire country, yet their average field goal percentage is 46%, ranking No. 297 in the country.
In layman's terms, the Falcons need to slow this game down, and rely on their defense that has won them plenty of games to lead them to another victory. Getting in a shootout with this Toledo offense isn’t going to bode well most of the time, they need to be patient, keep the ball out of the Rocket’s possession, and find high-percentage shots. This not only helps the Falcons on offense, but it will also coincide with my previous key, and limit the number of shots taken by Jackson.
Toledo and Bowling Green will show down for the second time this season this upcoming Saturday at home. The game is scheduled for 4:35 p.m., but will take place following the BGSU women’s basketball game at one.