With temperatures falling and snow coming soon, the 2021-22 season is quickly approaching for the BGSU men’s basketball team.
The Falcons are coming off a season in which they finished with a 14-12 record overall, a 10-8 record in the MAC, and a sixth place finish in the conference. They were road warriors, posting a 10-3 record on the road while only being 4-7 at The Stroh Center.
Head coach Michael Huger returns for his seventh season. Before last season, Huger led the Falcons to back-to-back, 20-plus-win seasons for the first time since 1947-49. For Huger’s team, they are looking for a bounce back season and a push for a Mid-American Conference title.
Looking at the team, it’s hard not to notice the huge shoes that need to be filled. Despite an experienced roster, the Falcons will be without Justin Turner, the school’s all-time leading scorer who graduated last spring and is now playing in the NBA G League for the Westchester Knicks. Last season, Turner averaged 19.3 points per game (third in the MAC), with 4.4 assists (fourth in the MAC), 4.3 rebounds, and 1.5 steals per game (eighth in the MAC).
To fill those shoes, Huger can look to fifth-year senior forward Daeqwon Plowden, who averaged 13.4 points (22nd in the MAC) and a team-high 7.8 rebounds per game (fourth in the MAC) last year. A third team all-MAC award winner last season, the Philadelphia native will look to become the centerpiece of the Falcon offense.
Forward Trey Diggs and point guard Kaden Metheny represent another pair of important pieces. Diggs, another experienced wing, led the Falcons last season with 59 three pointers and earned the MAC’s sixth man of the year award.
A sophomore from Morgantown, W.Va., Metheny is an interesting player who has shown consistent improvement throughout last year, starting all 26 games and earning MAC player of the week awards for performances against Ball State and Eastern Michigan, while also earning a spot on the MAC All Freshman team. With a year of experience under his belt, look for Metheny to be a potential star for the Falcons this season.
This year’s team also brings in a heavy influx of transfers from across the country, most notably guard Myron Gordon, who comes from Division I Samford University, where he averaged nearly 16 points per game last year for the Bulldogs.
“(Myron’s) experience, leadership and on-court success will be a welcomed addition to our program,” Huger said. “Myron is a three-level scorer with a terrific ability to get to the foul line. His balanced skill set, along with his ability to play on and off the ball, will translate perfectly to our style of play. I'm excited to work with Myron and see everything we will accomplish together."
Samari Curtis, a 6 foot 4 inch junior transfer from Evansville, brings another multi-level scorer to the table for Huger’s offense. He is a dark horse threat for the Falcons offense, having won Ohio’s Mr. Basketball Award for best player in the state in 2019. Look for Curtis to potentially find his way into the starting lineup this year.
It is hard to deny the impact that Justin Turner made on Bowling Green; however, Huger has a team looking to light it up from the three-point line. The team has incredible depth, especially with the return of 6 foot 9 inches senior forward Matiss Kulackovskis, and experience up and down the roster. In a conference with a lot of young rosters, the window might be open this season for a conference title to return to Bowling Green.
The Falcons open up the regular season Nov. 9 on the road against Western Carolina before the home opener at the Stroh Center Nov. 12 against Ohio Wesleyan.
The first huge test will be Nov. 15, when the Falcons travel to Columbus to take on Ohio State at Value City Arena. The Buckeyes, who were the Big Ten’s runner-up last season and made the NCAA tournament as a two-seed, will be a measuring stick for Huger’s team.
After a slate of non-conference opponents, which include Robert Morris and Norfolk State, the Falcons open MAC play Dec. 28 at home against the Akron Zips, who finished third in the conference last season.
People across the country might be sleeping on the Falcons. With the wing depth and three-level scoring ability across the roster, Huger’s team has the potential to light up the scoreboard, and potentially win the MAC.
Ohio State is going to be the toughest early-season test. After that, the Falcons have the potential to be flying high into the start of conference play.
When it comes to the MAC, until the king is dethroned, the king is the king. The kings of the MAC last year? None other than the Falcons' arch-rivals, the Toledo Rockets, who finished 21-9 last year, 15-4 in the conference and earned a berth in the NIT tournament. The Rockets and Falcons split the regular season series and Huger will have his team hungry for a season sweep.
The pesky Miami Redhawks represent another challenge, having swept the Falcons last year, including at the Stroh on senior night in overtime. The Redhawks will continue to be a thorn in the side of the Falcons' push for the MAC title.
Overall, the Falcons have the potential to make a lot of noise this season and go on a Cinderella run. If the Falcons can be consistent, stay healthy, and play solid defense a majority of the year, another banner might just be hung up in the rafters of the Stroh.
For more information about the team and the season, check out bgsufalcons.com.