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BGSU Comes From Behind To Stun WMU With 69-64 Win

The Falcons used an intense press and hot shooting to overcome a 15-point 2nd half deficit to defeat Western Michigan on the road.

Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

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.

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.