Bowling Green’s Zack Denny tries to shoot over Eastern Michigan’s Tim Bond and Jordan Nobles on Tuesday. BLADE/JEREMY WADSWORTH
BOWLING GREEN — The Bowling Green State University men’s basketball followed up its best game of the season last Saturday with arguably its worst effort Tuesday.
The Falcons struggled at both ends of the floor in an 81-53 loss to Eastern Michigan at the Stroh Center. But most concerning was that the high energy BG used to win at Ball State on Saturday did not follow them home.
“We didn’t have the energy and juice I was looking for,” Bowling Green coach Michael Huger said. “Saturday I saw energy and effort — we were all over the place. …
“Today we had none of that; no juice, no energy, no life to what we were doing. … It’s a game that you want to put behind you as quickly as possible.”
IN PICTURES: Eastern Michigan downs BGSU
The Falcons made just 33.3 percent of their shots from the floor and turned the ball over 18 times to finish with a season-low 53 points. Meanwhile, the defense allowed EMU to make 58.2 percent of its shots — many of them layups — to lose by 28 points.
But those numbers did not bother Huger as much as team’s lackluster effort did.
“If we came out and played hard and lose by 30, you can understand,” he said.
“When you give a half-effort and expect to beat Eastern Michigan because you beat Ball State. …
“We didn’t have any juice, any energy. We were dead.”
Zack Denny had 14 points to lead the Falcons (7-9, 1-2 Mid-American Conference), who also got 11 points from Demajeo Wiggins.
Willie Magnum scored 19 to top four in double figures for the Eagles (10-6, 2-1), and James Thompson and Ty Toney each had 16 points, and Tim Bond scored 14.
Eastern Michigan took command of the first half with a 11-0 run that gave them a 22-12 lead with 10:43 left in the period.
Two BG turnovers led to two easy layups and the Falcons missed all six shots they took during that run.
“When we moved the ball around the perimeter with quick passes — get it in, get it out — we got open shots,” Denny said. “But we settled for a lot of contested shots.
“It’s hard to shoot over a 6-9 person, and they’re 6-9 across the board. And they’re very ‘handsy’ — when you caught the ball in the high post, they trapped down pretty hard.
“If you didn’t make your move quick, something bad would happen.”
Bowling Green used two 3-pointers by Anthony Wayne grad Matt Fox to fuel an eight-point run that cut EMU’s lead to 32-27 with 1:02 to play; Toney’s layup at the buzzer gave the Eagles a 36-29 halftime advantage.
Eastern Michigan started the second half on a 10-point roll; by the time Wiggins dunked at 14:25 for BG’s first points of the period, the Eagles already lead 46-29.
The Falcons used a 7-0 run, fueled by a bit of full-court pressure, to cut their deficit to 50-38 with 12:17 on the clock.
“You have to do things you normally don’t do, so we had to press and try to speed them up,” Huger said.
But Eastern Michigan blew out BG with a 17-5 run led by Mangum, who scored 10 of those points, as the Falcons saw their six-game home winning streak end.