BGSU Splits Friday Basketball Doubleheader

Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

The Falcons played their final home games until December on Friday night at the Stroh Center. The women's team ripped Niagara to remain perfect, while the men's team struggled with foul trouble early and eventually lost to South Florida.

BGSU Women's Basketball

(Click link for boxscore)
Bowling Green 48

The Bowling Green Falcons improved to 3-0 for the first time in six seasons thanks to a 90-58 thrashing of Niagara on Friday night in Bowling Green, Ohio.  It may be true that this is a young season and a new team, but fans shouldn't be blamed for conjuring up memories of Falcon teams past.  If nothing else, the relentless weathering down of Niagara harkens back to seasons gone by.

For the second time in three games, Bowling Green did not trail for a single second.  An Alexis Rogers layup gave BGSU a 2-0 lead just 18 seconds into the contest.  Niagara tied the game on the next possession, but the Falcons took the lead for good when Miriam Justinger sank a free throw for a 3-2 lead with just 1:37 gone from the clock.

From there, the Falcons went on a 10-2 run to jump out to a 12-4 lead.  Justinger helped the cause with a three-pointer, while the entire lineup was constantly creating opportunities at the free throw line.  BGSU players attempted 15 free throws in just the first ten minutes.  This helped them stretch the lead all the way to 13 when Erica Donovan nailed a jumper just before the midway point of the first half.

Niagara went on a 15-6 run of their own over the next four minutes to cut the Falcons' lead down to four (28-24).  Five different players scored for the Purple Eagles in the stretch, led by Sylvia Maxwell and Donisha Watson with four each.

The Falcons were undeterred, however, and outscored Niagara 20-10 over the final six minutes of the half.  Jilian Halfhill helped stem Niagara's tide by sinking a three-pointer with just 5:59 left on the clock.  Deborah Hoekstra took over after that, as she scored nine of BGSU's final 18 points in the half.  The burst included two big shots from long-range.  When the half ended, BGSU led 48-34.

Erica Donovan scored the first five points of the second half to essentially put the game away, and she began the final period with a three-pointer after just 11 seconds.  A layup by Halfhill with just over 4:00 gone in the second half pushed BGSU's lead permanently past 20.  The margin reached 25 points before Val McQuade made Niagara's first field goal of the half.  That came with 12:59 to play in the game.

Hoekstra hit another three-pointer several minutes later to create a 30-point lead, and a Justinger layup with just 6:22 left gave BGSU a game-best 33-point margin.  Niagara went on a brief 11-3 run to close the gap to 25, but the Falcons scored the final seven points of the contest to complete a 90-48 victory.

Bowling Green shot .446 (25-for-56) for the game but did a much better job from the floor in the second half than in the first.  After making just 12 of 32 shots in the first 20 minutes, the Falcons sank 13 of 24 (.542) in the second frame.  BGSU was also much better from long-range in the second half, going 6-for-12 after shooting just 4-for-18 before halftime.  From the charity stripe, Bowling Green made 30 of 41 attempts, including 20 of 25 in the first half.

Despite trailing by 14 at halftime, Niagara shot very well in the first half.  They totaled 11 makes in 19 attempts from the floor (.579) and were 11-for-12 from the free throw line.  However, the second half was not nearly as kind.  The Purple Eagles were successful on just eight of 30 attempts (.267) in the second half and were just 1-for-9 from long range.  Their cumulative shooting percentage was .388 (19-for-49).

The Falcons absolutely dominated the boards.  They secured nearly as many rebounds just on offense (20) as Niagara did on both sides (23).  BGSU outrebounded Niagara 49-23 overall, and that included a 20-4 edge on offense.  That edge resulted in an astounding 23-2 margin for BGSU in second-chance points.  In the first half, that margin was 17-0.

Turnovers were also key.  The game ended with both teams equal at 21 turnovers, but that did not tell the real story.  When the game was in doubt in the first half, BGSU won the turnover battle 15-7.  More importantly, they converted those turnovers into points.  The Falcons led 16-2 after the first half in points off turnovers and ended the game with a 22-8 edge in that category.  When you combine the points off turnovers with the second-chance points number, you get a combined score of 45-10.  In other words, those were the deciding factors in the game.

Five different Falcons scored in double figures, including three players who came off the bench.  The bench effort in this game was excellent, especially given the fact that Bowling Green was playing with a short bench (only nine players dressed for the game).  Hoekstra played 25 minutes in relief and scored 15 points.  She also added four rebounds and three assists.  Rachel Konieczki (11 points) and Jasmine Matthews (10 points) added key contributions as substitutes.  Donovan led all scorers with 20 points after shooting 7-for-10 from the floor and 5-for-6 from the free throw line.  She also added seven rebounds, six of which were on offense.  Halfhill poured in 13 points, gathered five rebounds and dished out five assists.  Jill Stein led all players with 11 rebounds.

For Niagara, Val McQuade led the Purple Eagles with 14 points, but BGSU held Meghan McGuinness to just seven points.

Bowling Green takes their 3-0 record on the road for the next few weeks and will not have another home game until December 8th against Wisconsin-Milwaukee.  Their next contest is on Monday night at Butler.  They follow that game with a trip to the Basketball Hall of Fame Challenge in Columbus, Ohio.  They will play three games in three days there next Friday through Sunday, against Marist, Old Dominion and Ohio State.


BGSU Men's Basketball

(Click link for boxscore)
South Florida
Bowling Green 28

The Bowling Green Falcons played well at times and challenged the South Florida Bulls throughout the game, but when the final horn sounded, the Falcons were looking up at the short end of a 78-61 decision on Friday night in Bowling Green, Ohio.

The size of USF's interior affected the Falcons all night, but the problem manifested itself in fouls more than anything else during the first half.  Bowling Green was called for 13 fouls during the first 20 minutes, and five different players went into halftime with at least two fouls.  Two -- Cameron Black and Josh Gomez -- took three fouls into the locker room.  This foul trouble would ultimately spell doom for the Falcons in the second half.

Despite shooting just .343 in the first half and allowing South Florida to shoot .545 at the same time, the Falcons played a very close first half with the Bulls.  This effort was helped in large part due to points off turnovers and second-chance points.  The BGSU defense created nine turnovers that led to 14 points, while the offense generated ten second-chance points thanks to 11 offensive rebounds.

Spencer Parker led off the festivities with an emphatic dunk, and the Falcons held a small lead for much of the game's first four minutes.  USF took the lead after the first media timeout, but the lead remained within just one possession until BGSU took it back thanks to a Jehvon Clarke three-pointer with 9:43 left in the first half.  The Falcons increased the lead to a game-high five points on a jumper and free throw by Parker, but the game began to unravel from there because of the foul trouble.

USF went on a 10-0 run, and that was capped by a John Egbunu layup which gave the Bulls their biggest lead to that point at 23-18.  Clarke hit a jumper and Gomez nailed a three-pointer to tie the game at 23, and Gomez later sank another jumper to tie the game again at 27.  However, the spurt was short-lived.  Egbunu scored another layup to give USF the lead for good with 2:19 left in the half, and the Bulls went on an 8-1 run to take the game into halftime at 35-28.

In the second half, the Falcons switched to a zone defense and were not as physical on the defensive end.  This resulted in USF carrying a 26-16 edge in points in the paint in the second half.  The two teams had each scored 18 inside points prior to halftime.  South Florida's size also affected BGSU's offense.  The Bulls blocked just two shots in the second half (compared to five in the first) but constantly altered how and where the Falcons were able to shoot the ball.

A Cameron Black jumper cut the Bulls' lead to five at the beginning of the second half, and a layup by Clark with 13:00 left in the game also made it a five-point margin.  Unfortunately, that's as close as the Falcons would get in the second half.  After seeing the lead balloon to 13 points, Bowling Green was able to whittle it down to eight with just under four minutes left, but Anthony Henderson and Jehvon Clarke each missed shots before a Corey Allen Jr. layup pushed the lead permanently back to double-digits.  When the horn sounded, USF left with a 75-61 victory.

The Bulls shot an amazing .587 from the floor (27-for-46).  Inside the three-point arc, the Bulls made 70% of their attempts.  Bowling Green was just 23-for-64 (.359).  Neither team was very good from the free throw line -- USF made just 17 of 27 attempts, and the Falcons were only 11-for-20.

Jehvon Clarke led the Falcons with 17 points but shot just 6-for-24 from the floor.  Anthony Henderson added eight points, but he made only four of 15 shots.  Combined, the two were 10-for-39.  The other six players that saw minutes for BGSU last night were a combined 13-for-25 (.520).  Spencer Parker added 11 points, while Richaun Holmes contributed ten points and a team-best seven rebounds.  Holmes also had a blocked shot.

USF's Corey Allen Jr. led all players with 19 points and added seven rebounds.  John Egbunu was just two rebounds shy of a double-double, as he posted 12 points and eight rebounds.  Victor Rudd added 16 points to the Bulls' effort.

The loss drops BGSU to 1-1 in this young season.  The Falcons will now travel for the first time in 2013 and won't play another home game until December 2nd.  Their next four contests are all part of the Cancun Challenge.  Next Thursday night, BGSU will play in Madison, Wisc. against the Wisconsin Badgers.  Two nights later, they will be in St. Louis, Mo. to face the Saint Louis Billikens.  Finally, just before Thanksgiving, the team will be in Cancun, Mexico for a pair of contests.  The first will be against Presbyterian, and the second will be against either Oral Roberts or Georgia Southern.  The Falcons return home after the holiday to play the "other Bowling Green" -- the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers.

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