It was a game the Bowling Green Falcons wanted badly, but it was also a game that the Toledo Rockets NEEDED badly. The Rockets, behind a big second half from seniors Julius "Juice" Brown and Justin Drummond, earned a hard fought, 71-67 victory over the Falcons on Saturday night.
The largest crowd in Savage Arena (7,392) since its renovation in 2008, watch the Rockets turn back the Falcons in a game they needed to stay close with the leaders in the Mid-American Conference west division. The Rockets evened their MAC record at 3-3 and improved to 11-8 overall on the year. Bowling Green fell a game behind MAC east division leader Kent State and now stand at 4-2 and 12-5 on the year.
The first half of the game unfolded as the Falcons wanted with a tightly contested defensive struggle that saw players from both teams in early foul trouble. The Falcons held a 34-32 lead at the break but the game didn't start as a defensive-minded affair. The Falcons made seven of their first 11 field goal attempts to start the game, while the Rockets went five of 10, including three 3-pointers.
The second half was when Brown and Drummond started to get loose a bit. Brown had 16 points in the second half alone and Drummond added a dozen more. Bowling Green was able to keep it close throughout the second half but couldn't hit a basket at several key points of the game.
The Rockets came out strong immediately in the second half and took a small lead that they held through much of the first ten minutes. Then, Bowling Green regained the lead, 50-49 on a Zack Denny three pointer with 10:36 to play. The Rockets then soon after went on an 8-0 run that pushed their lead to 57-50 with 7:30 left. Brown had a layup and a jumper in that crucial run for the Rockets.
The Falcons would never lead again in the game, but they did have their chances. Jovan Austin had two free throws with a chance to tie the game, but he split the pair and BG still trailed 64-63 with 1:54 to play. Then, Denney had a great look from the three point line with 35 seconds left that would have tied the game, but he missed. Brown then hit four free throws in the closing seconds to give the Rockets the win.
Brown finished with 28 points on 8-15 from the field and 9-10 from the free throw line. Drummond ended-up with 18 points and a team high nine rebounds, while Nathan Boothe added 13 points. The Rockets shot 45 percent (25-56) for the game and won the rebound battle 41-39.
Richaun Holmes led three Falcons scoring in double figures with 14 points. Austin added 13 points and five assists, while Jehvon Clarke added 12. Denny led the Falcons with nine rebounds. The Falcons shot 41 percent (26-63) from the field and only 50 percent (8-16) from the free throw line. Bowling Green committed 14 turnovers to just 11 for Toledo.
The Rockets will stay at home to take on the Miami Redhawks on Tuesday, while the Falcons will return home on the same day to host the Northern Illinois Huskies.
|Player||Toledo ||Bowling Green
|Points||J. Brown (28)||R. Holmes (14)|
|Rebounds||J. Drummond (9)||Z. Denny (9)|
|Assists||J. Lauf (3)||D. Austin (5)|
|Blocks||N. Boothe (4)||R. Holmes (2)|
|Steals||J. Brown (3)||Z. Denny (2)|