The young Bowling Green Falcons team stayed even with the #12 Wisconsin Badgers for much of the first half in Madison, Wisc. on Thursday night. The team stayed out of early foul trouble, converted consistently in the paint offensively, and did not turn the ball over. The Falcons also maintained tight defense around the perimeter, which cut off Wisconsin's sharpshooting ability from behind the three-point arc.
Unfortunately for Bowling Green, they could not maintain any of that momentum. With just under 10 minutes to go in the first half and the score tied at 20, the Badgers began to drain three-pointers at an alarming rate, especially given that BGSU was not making any. Wisconsin's defense also tightened, cutting off the Falcons' primary source of early points. What resulted was a 24-8 scoring spurt and a 44-28 halftime lead for Wisconsin. Fifteen of those 24 points were courtesy of long-range baskets. Five more points came via free throws.
The early portion of the second half was much of the same. Wisconsin scored 16 of the half's first 23 points to build a 25-point lead at 60-35 with 13:51 remaining. Half of those first 16 points came through three-pointers and free throws.
The Falcons then tried to get back into the game by going on an 18-7 run of their own over the following 4:30. By the time the clock reached the 9:12 mark, the Badgers' lead was just 14 (67-53). Wisconsin then took advantage of ever-increasing foul trouble for Bowling Green and went on another run. This 10-0 spurt ended the Falcons' comeback hopes, and Wisconsin cruised from their to the final 88-64 victory.
Bowling Green shot a respectable .444 (28/63) for the game, and their first and second halves were nearly identical (14/31 and 14/32, respectively). However, they were only 1-for-9 from three-point range and just 7-for-14 from the free throw line. All 14 free throw attempts occurred in the second half. Much like BGSU's last opponent, South Florida, Wisconsin was lights-out from the floor. The Badgers shot .549 (28/51) overall and were over 50% in each half. They also made 60% of their three-point attempts (12/20) and were 20-for-26 at the charity stripe.
On the positive side, Bowling Green held their own with 30 rebounds compared to 33 for Wisconsin. BGSU gathered 10 rebounds on offense. The Falcons also won the turnover battle and gave the ball away just six times -- a trend that head coach Louis Orr would certainly love to see continue.
Spencer Parker led the Falcons with 17 points, all scored in the second half. Jehvon Clarke added 15 points, and he also had double-digit scoring in the second half with 11. Cameron Black scored ten points, while Richaun Holmes and Anthony Henderson poured in eight apiece. Holmes contributed a game-high eight rebounds and two blocked shots. Four players from BGSU's bench combined to score six points.
Wisconsin's Ben Brust led all scorers with 19 points, and 13 of those were scored in the second half. Much of his scoring came from long-distance; he was 5-for-6 in three-point shots. Five other Badgers' players scored in double figures.
BGSU drops to 1-2 with the loss. Their next game will again be part of the Cancun Challenge, as they travel to St. Louis, Mo. to face the Saint Louis University Billikens. Game time on Saturday night is set for 8:00 p.m. ET.