Bowling Green (1-2) at Robert Morris (1-3)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Monday, November 19, 7:30 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Charles L. Sewall Center (3,056) -- Moon Township, Pennsylvania. Television: None. Home Record: BGSU 1-0, RMU 0-0. Away Record: BGSU 0-0, RMU 0-2. Neutral Record: BGSU 0-2, RMU 1-1. Conference Record: BGSU 0-0, RMU 0-0. Series Record: First meeting.
GAME NOTES: The Bowling Green Falcons cross the state border into Western Pennsylvania for their NIT Season Tip-Off consolation round matchup with the hosting Robert Morris Colonials.
The Falcons have lost two in a row since their 10-point, season-opening win over Division II Lake Erie College. Bowling Green overcame a pair of eight- point deficits and led for most of the second half, but could not hang on and dropped a 79-73 decision in overtime to Cleveland State in the first round of this early-season tournament on Nov. 12. Then it was bested in much more convincing fashion the following day by IUPUI. The slow start is slightly disappointing after coach Louis Orr guided the program to a 16-16 finish in 2011-2012.
Robert Morris showed last time out that it is much better than its 1-3 record indicates. The Colonials were heavy underdogs when they entered the Cintas Center to duel Xavier on Saturday, but they almost pulled off a second half comeback before losing by a slim 61-59 margin. RMU opened up the season with a 25-point loss at Rider before the tourney tipped off. It was then beat soundly by the C.J. McCollum led Lehigh Mountain Hawks in the first round before picking up its lone win of the season, a 16-point triumph over Fordham. Second year head coach Andrew Toole led the team to a 26-11 finish in his inaugural campaign with the program.
Although these schools are only separated by just over 230 miles, they have never squared off on the basketball court before Monday.
Bowling Green has been unimpressive on the offensive end this season. In its win over Lake Erie, it was held to 32.8 percent shooting from the floor by the Division II program. The Falcons then lost to Cleveland State due to an atrocious 3- of-16 shooting clip from 3-point range, which it followed with a conservative approach against IUPUI that yielded just seven free throw attempts. BGSU is coming off a season-low eight turnovers, only one of which its star guard Jordon Crawford was deemed responsible. The 5-6 guard had turned the ball over a total of 12 times in his first two outings, but his 18 points and 4.7 assists per game make him difficult to bench. Crawford is second on the team in scoring to senior forward A'uston Calhoun, who has generated 49 points and 13 boards over his last two outings. None of the other Falcons are scoring in double figures through three games, which will need to change if they are going to turn things around.
Although RMU allowed the Musketeers to convert 52.5 percent of their field goal attempts in their thriller on Saturday, it managed to stay neck and neck with the Atlantic 10 power by holding an advantage in the rebounding battle and forcing Xavier into 15 turnovers. The Colonials will be competitive with any opponent they face the rest of the way if they continue to play as a team. Only six of their 23 made field goals were unassisted. Sophomore point guard Velton Jones is the clear engine to RMU. He finished Saturday's contest with 15 points and six assists, while junior college transfer Karvel Anderson came off the bench to pour in a team-best 17 points.
After a frustrating four-game start to the season against difficult oppositions, Robert Morris will finally play in front of its home crowd. The Colonials should be able to bait the Falcons into a healthy amount of turnovers to give the home crowd their desired result.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Robert Morris 66, Bowling Green 58
11/19 10:38:45 ET