Game #9-434: Bowling Green Falcons at Ohio BobcatsFebruary 9, 2013 2:00 pm
The commitment and dedication it takes to be a Division I college athlete is insane. Not only do you have to manage a full-time class load of 15-18 credit hours each semester, you have 20 hours of practices and games each week during the season, and that doesn't account for any travel time. Even in the "offseason," student-athletes will put in at least 10 hours a week working out to stay in shape or work on their skills.
Being a fan of these college athletes can take a fair bit of commitment too; especially if you are getting out on the road outside your comfort zone of the local teams. I had yet made the commitment to attend a game at Ohio University, the last Mid-Majority team standing in last year's tournament.
Despite the fact that half my high school class went to OU (or so it seemed anyway), I had never been to the Ohio University campus in Athens. Athens has quite the reputation for being one of the craziest college party towns in America, but that never interested me much.
Anyone who has read some of my previous recaps knows how much I loathe long road trips. Most of that fear is due to my car that has nearly 180,000 miles on it that I am convinced will fall apart like the Bluesmobile
any time now. Also, my night vision isn't the greatest, especially in rainy or foggy conditions.
For me to go to Athens, I figured the stars would have to align. But the game against Bowling Green offered as good of an opportunity for me to go as I would ever get. It was a bright, sunny day. The game was a 2 p.m. tip, meaning almost all off the 2:45 drive would be during daylight hours. My car had made it to Nashville and back, so this journey wasn't that bad. It really seemed like now or never.
I was pleasantly surprised that most of the route was four-lane divided highway that could be taken at Interstate speed. I did miss a turn that added a few miles to the journey, but it was a pleasurable drive. The trip wasn't as hilly as I expected either, which my finicky transmission was appreciative of. But the isolation of Athens did provide one scare. A 40-mile stretch of road without a gas station nearly ran me out of gas. Thankfully, there was a station just outside of Athens to fill-up at.
Arriving on campus was quite breathtaking. To get to The Convocation Center, you cross the Hocking River, and the sun was at just the right angle to glisten off of The Convo roof and bring out the beauty of the brick buildings. Ohio U. definitely lives up to its end of the "Battle of the Bricks" with Miami.
The Convo doesn't have a special charm of some college basketball arenas, but it does have some unique features. The 13,000 seat arena built in 1968 actually has dorm rooms within the center, and once hosted Led Zeppelin. But what the building may lack in atmosphere is made up for by the activities within the building.
During the pregame, I was disappointed that the Ohio University Band didn't play more. The Marching 110 Is one of the few bands North of the Mason-Dixon that can actually match-up to a HBCU band for sheer power and funk. Whether you are watching them do a dance jam like "Party Rock Anthem
" or just having your face melted by the brass bonanza of "Long Train Runnin
'," you are always in for a treat when the band performs.
The drumline did get to have a bit of fun when they took to the court with the dance team. At most schools, seeing a drumline and dance team together would be a culture clash, but at OU, it works. The drumline danced with the dance team for the first half of the performance before picking up their instruments and playing the dance team's music for the second half.
At The Convo, there are two video boards, but they are court level in the corners of the court. So, unless you are within 25 rows of the court, you can't see them very well. Which made the pregame hype video before starting lineups a bit anti-climatic. But if you were watching the video, you were missing the ROTC members repel down to the court from the rafters or the O-Zone student section unfurling a giant banner which was one of the first student section Tifos I had ever seen.
The constant action on and off the court continued throughout the game. On the court, Ohio was playing it's patented "Attack U" brand of basketball, forcing Bowling Green into turnovers and capitalizing on the fast break. D.J. Cooper put on a show with an assortment of overhead and behind-the-back passes for assists. On the other end, Bowling Green was running a backdoor set for Craig Sealey perfectly. The Falcon guards would throw high-arcing lobs that seemed to take four seconds to get to the target. This only built up the anticipation for the upcoming #omgalleyoop
that Sealey would finish off.
During timeouts, you never knew what to expect. The Ohio athletic department often had multiple promotions going on at the same time. Shooting contests, tricycle races, tire rolls (yes, trying to roll a tire across the court to a target like bowling), big shoe/jersey races, and to cap it all off, a big shoe/jersey race where you also had to ride a tricycle down the court and back before making a layup.
At halftime, Viking Magic, a basketball drill team of 3rd-6th graders from the Columbus area showed off an array of dribbling skills. While the leader of the team ritualistically blowing a whistle every time a new move or position change was needed was a bit much, it was a entertaining display.
With all of this going on, you actually forget there is a basketball game happening. It takes you a minute or two to digest what happened during the promotion. Meanwhile, the action on the court was back to its fast and furious pace.
Ohio took their one-point halftime lead and extended it to 11 in the first five minutes of the second half thanks to great defense by T.J. Hall. Hall had two steals that keyed an 11-1 run that Bowling Green would not be able to recover from. Things got a bit testy down the stretch, as four technicals were issued with 2:32 remaining and the score 68-55 in favor of the Bobcats. Yes, there would be a winning team, and there would be a losing team. Ohio finished off the victory 72-63.
After the game was over, I lingered in The Convo for a few minutes before heading outside to walk around the area of campus immediately around the arena. It took me a while to digest all of what I had actually seen. It's hard to go to Athens for a game, you just can't stop by on the way through to somewhere else. The trip definitely takes commitment. But I promise you one thing, it's totally worth it.
at OHIO 72, BOWLING GREEN 63
BOWLING GREEN 9-14 (4-6) -- A. Calhoun 7-16 5-6 19; J. Crawford 6-14 1-2 17; C. Orr 3-6 1-1 7; L. Kraus 0-6 0-0 0; R. Holmes 3-5 2-3 8; C. Sealey 4-5 0-0 8; C. Black 0-3 1-2 1; J. Clarke 1-3 0-0 3; J. Erger 0-0 0-0 0; A. Henderson 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 24-58 10-14 63.
OHIO 17-6 (8-1) -- D. Cooper 3-7 3-4 10; R. Keely 6-9 3-5 15; T. Hall 4-10 2-3 12; N. Kellogg 0-3 2-2 2; W. Offutt 4-6 2-2 12; R. Johnson 0-2 2-2 2; I. Baltic 4-9 0-0 8; T. Wikins 1-4 0-0 3; J. Smith 1-2 1-2 3; S. Taylor 2-4 1-1 5. Totals 25-56 16-21 72.
Three-point goals: BGSU 5-15 (A. Calhoun 0-3; J. Crawford 4-6; L. Kraus 0-3; J. Clarke 1-2; C. Orr 0-1), OHIO 6-23 (W. Offutt 2-3; D. Cooper 1-4; R. Keely 0-1; T. Hall 2-6; R. Johnson 0-1; N. Kellogg 0-3; S. Taylor 0-2; T. Wikins 1-3); Rebounds: BGSU 39 (C. Sealey 12), OHIO 29 (R. Keely 10); Assists: BGSU 10 (J. Crawford 4), OHIO 14 (D. Cooper 8); Total Fouls -- BGSU 15, OHIO 15; Fouled Out: BGSU-None; OHIO-None.