If Louis Orr needed a signature victory to breathe life in the Bowling Green men's basketball program, he surely got one Sunday.
His BGSU Falcons team went into a hostile environment in University Arena, the same location where hated rivals and MAC favorite Toledo had lost just a week and a half ago, and defeated a scrappy Western Michigan Bronco squad 69-64, coming from behind in the process.
"Every time you come (to Kalamazoo), it's going to be a battle. Coach Hawkins' guys play hard and physical and you have to ready to compete for 40 minutes or more and I thought that (we did)."
It wasn't easy. After an early 10-0 run, the Falcons seemingly imploded while the Broncos put together a pair of 16-4 runs to close out the first half. The inside-outside tandem of Shayne Whittington and David Brown torched the BG defense often, with Brown hitting 4 three-pointers to take a 39-27 lead at the half.
Even after a strong start to the 2nd half, the Falcons again saw the Broncos pour it on during a 9-0 run to take a 50-35 lead with 14:33 to go. That's just about the same time Western Michigan beat writer Brian Persky sent out this tweet.
Bowling Green looks like a team that simply doesn't want to be here anymore.— B. Persky (@BrianPersky) January 19, 2014
Either the Falcons saw that on the bench, or they found new life, but Bowling Green began a frantic comeback at that point.
After a Richaun Holmes lay-up, Anthony Henderson hit a pair of three-pointers and helped force a pair of turnovers during a 10-0 run to close the gap to 50-45. After both teams traded free-throws, Henderson would hit another pair of three-points to tie the game up at 54-54 with 8:41 to go.
The Broncos wouldn't hit their first field goal since taking that 15-point lead until 7:09 to go, almost seven and a half minutes later. They'd get their last field goal with 5 minutes to go on a Whittington jumper.
And while Western Michigan would miss shot after shot and struggle with the Falcon pressure, Orr's squad slowly worked away at a 3-point Bronco lead until Jehvon Clarke's three-pointer with 1:33 to go gave BG the lead for good. A Henderson lay-up with 15 seconds to go that broke a Bronco press gave the Falcons a 3 point lead, and when Brown's game-tying 3 point shot was off the mark, Bowling Green had their quality win secured.
Henderson finished the game with 27 points including 7-10 from behind the arch. Spencer Parker and Clark both added 13 and 12 respectively for the Falcons. Western Michigan saw Brown score 21 points, but go 0-4 in the 2nd half from three-point land. Whittington finished with 18 points while Connar Tava pulled down 11 rebounds, but went a paltry 2-7 from the field. Bowling Green forced 18 turnovers, including 13 in the second half.
The Falcons now must survive a short turnaround when they head to Athens, Ohio to take on the Bobcats on Wednesday. The Broncos have a more reasonable schedule, with a trip to Kent State on Thursday. Both teams are required to take off days tomorrow per NCAA rules.