Bowling Green (5-6) at North Dakota (2-8)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Friday, December 28, 8 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Sioux Center (3,064) -- Grand Forks, North Dakota. Television: Big Sky TV. Home Record: BGSU 4-2, UND 2-2. Away Record: BGSU 0-2, UND 0-6. Neutral Record: BGSU 1-2, UND 0-0. Conference Record: BGSU 0-0, UND 0-2. Series Record: First-ever meeting.
GAME NOTES: The Bowling Green Falcons continue their four-game road swing on Friday night when they head to Grand Forks to take on North Dakota in a non- conference bout at the Sioux Center.
From Nov. 20 to Dec. 8, Bowling Green managed to win four of five games, but outside of that run, it has not found much success this season. The Falcons are losers of back-to-back games, falling at home to Michigan State on Dec. 18 (64-53), and most recently dropping a heartbreaker at South Florida on Dec. 21, 87-84 in triple-overtime.
While Bowling Green has shown some signs of life this season, North Dakota has been virtually a non-factor, with its only two wins coming at home against Division II foes Crown College (87-51) and Presentation College (74-32). The team traveled to Cedar City on Monday to take on Southern Utah, and came away with a 79-67 defeat.
This bout marks the first-ever meeting between these two schools in men's basketball.
After leading by seven against USF with 1:07 left in regulation, Bowling Green collapsed down the stretch and a Victor Rudd 3-pointer for the Bulls in the final seconds forced overtime, and after three hard-fought extra sessions, the team eventually suffered the three-point defeat. The Falcons shot a higher percentage from the field than did their counterpart (.434 to .400), but they lost both the rebounding (52-47) and turnover (14-10) battles. Despite the setback, Jordon Crawford scored a career-high 27 points on 10-of-21 shooting from the floor, including 4-of-9 from 3-point range. A'uston Calhoun was also effective with 22 points and eight rebounds. It's been a similar pattern for BGSU all season long, with Crawford (16.7 ppg) and Calhoun (16.0 ppg) combining for more than half of the team's scoring average of 63.4 ppg. Crawford dishes out 3.9 apg and has done much of his damage from beyond the arc (24-of-66), while Calhoun is one of the better big men in the Mid-American Conference with 6.9 rpg and 0.9 bpg.
While North Dakota has been slightly more impressive on offense than Bowling Green, it certainly hasn't done much to impress, shooting 40.3 percent from the floor for just 65.1 ppg. It put forth yet another lackluster performance at Northern Colorado the last time out, shooting 33.3 percent from the field, and while it drained eight 3-pointers, it did so at just a 26.7 percent clip. UND got a handful of solid performances from Aaron Anderson (18 points), Mitch Wilmer (15 points) and Troy Huff (14 points), but the rest of the squad combined for just 19 points on 7-of-36 shooting. It was Huff's first game back after having not played since netting 12 points in the season opener against Kansas State, and his addition to the lineup will certainly help the team's poor scoring output. Anderson is UND's leading scorer with 12.6 ppg, and while his field goal percentage leaves much to be desired (.355), he is shooting an impressive 82.4 percent from the foul line. Josh Schuler just misses the double-digit scorers club with 9.9 ppg.
North Dakota has the home court advantage in this one, but it has yet to prove that it can take down a quality opponent, and until it does, the squad will not be favored to win many games. Crawford and Calhoun will provide enough of a spark for Bowling Green as the Falcons pull out a win.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Bowling Green 68, North Dakota 62
12/28 10:37:52 ET