It was an ugly game. It was a game Bowling Green teams of the past lost. It was the type of game that good teams find a way to win when not playing their best basketball.
On Tuesday night the Bowling Green Falcons grinded out a win over the visiting Northern Illinois Huskies, 56-46. The Falcons held the Mid-American Conference's second worst scoring offense more than 14 points below its season average (60.5).
But this game was far from easy for the brown and orange. The teams traded leads in the first half and it took a late surge courtesy of a Richaun Holmes dunk and Anthony Henderson jumper at the buzzer to give the Falcons a 21-20 lead at the intermission.
Bowling Green still seemed to be in a slumber to start the second half, and the Falcons even got some unexpected help as a wake-up call. The scoreboard buzzer in the Stroh Center got stuck and it took several minutes for technicians to get it turned off.
The deafening noise seemed to wake the Falcons up as they went on a run as a Zach Denny 3-pointer gave them a 35-26 lead with just under 13 minutes to play. Just when you thought the Falcons would then put this one away, the Huskies came roaring back.
A dunk by Darrell Bowie completed an 8-0 Huskie run of their own that pulled them back within a single point at 35-34 with 10:29 left. Just over a minute later, a 3-pointer from Aaron Armstead would actually give Northern Illinois the lead, 39-37.
The lead was short lived as the Falcons' Delvin Dickerson hit a 3-pointer to retake the lead, 40-39 with 7:35 to play. Bowling Green would never trail again in this one, as they would outscore the Huskies 16-7 the rest of the way.
Holmes once again filled-up the box score with 18 points, seven rebounds, two blocks and two steals. Also scoring in double figures for the Falcons was Denny with 13 and Henderson with 11. As a team, the Falcons shot 43 percent (21-49) from the field, including 7 of 18 from three point land.
Armstead was the only player scoring in double figures for Northern Illinois with 12 points. The Huskies came into the game as the MAC's worst 3-point shooting team and they did nothing to jeopardize their status by going only 2 for 12 in this game. They also managed just 36 percent shooting (17-47) from the field for the game.
With the win, Bowling Green improves to 5-2 in the MAC and 13-5 overall. The Falcons remain a game back of east division leading Kent State, who defeated Central Michigan on Tuesday night. The Huskies fall to 2-5 and 8-10 on the year.
The Falcons will remain at home and face the Akron Zips on Saturday. This will be another key game for Bowling Green as the Zips dominated them in Akron a couple of weeks ago. Northern Illinois will return home to face the Toledo Rockets, also on Saturday.
|Player||Northern Illinois ||Bowling Green
|Points||A. Armstead (12)||R. Holmes (18)|
|Rebounds||M. Maric (7)||R. Holmes (7)|
|Assists||D. Bowie (2)||D. Joseph (6)|
|Blocks||D. Bowie (1)||R. Holmes (2)|
|Steals||D. Bowie (2)||Z. Denny (3)|