The Bowling Green men’s basketball team kicked off their 2018 season Tuesday night against Division II Tiffin University, winning 91-52 at the Stroh Center.
The Falcons got off to a torrid offensive start, going on a 21-2 run in the opening quarter and leading 45-20 at halftime. Controlling the boards on both ends while locking down on defense opened up easy lanes for the Falcons, who took advantage of a smaller and less athletic Tiffin squad.
“We got the shots that we wanted. We were able to get layups,” coach Michael Huger said. “The way they played ball screens we had the opportunity to refuse ball screens to get drives. I thought we capitalized on that.”
Junior guard Dylan Frye led the way for Bowling Green with 20 points in 20 minutes, grabbing five rebounds and making four of seven three-pointers. Senior forward Demajeo Wiggins recorded a double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds to go with two blocks, while redshirt sophomore guard Justin Turner added 16 points and five rebounds.
The Falcons out-rebounded the Dragons 62-29, pursuing the ball as a team on the defensive end. On the offensive end, Bowling Green repeatedly capitalized inside, both off of second-chance opportunities and from offensive sets, scoring 50 points in the paint and 21 second-chance points.
Redshirt senior forward Jeffrey Uju pulled down 10 rebounds for the Falcons, while junior guard Michael Laster had eight and freshman center Tayler Mattos grabbed nine, both off the bench. The team effort on the glass helped the Falcons eliminate second-chance points while pushing the ball in transition back on the offense.
“(Wiggins) is a big boy. He’s going to have his 10 to 15 or however many he’s going to get, but when us guards crash, it helps us all,” Frye said. “It helps him too.”
The Falcons spent much of the offseason focusing on making defensive adjustments to improve their play on that end of the floor this season, and it showed against Tiffin. The Dragons opened the game going one for 14 from the field and shot 29.9 percent for the contest. BG spent much of the second half playing their bench, cruising to an easy victory.
“Last year, we had a lot of guys who weren’t interested in defense,” Huger said. “We had to change that mentality. We worked on that from the end of last season until now. It’s been a long summer for us. That’s all we did was defense."
The Falcons will be traveling for their next pair of games as a part of the 2018 Legends Classic. Bowling Green will play St. John’s in Queens, New York, on Friday at 6:30 p.m., and then travel to Richmond, Virginia, to play VCU on Monday.