For a short period of four minutes in the first half the Bowling Green Falcons lost their minds on Wednesday night. In the second half, Spencer Parker was unconscious. The Falcon erased a nine point first half deficit and beat the host Kent State Golden Flashes, 66-64 in the Mid-American Conference opener for both teams.
The game was tied 18-18 with six minutes left in a closely played first half. But just four minute later the Falcons were staring at a 32-18 deficit and no amount of timeouts from Bowling Green Coach Chris Jans could help. Jimmy Hall did most of the damage during that 14-0 Kent State run with five points.
The Falcons did cut the lead back to nine points as the half ended, 35-26. Bowling Green scored the last six points of the half and Jans said that was big in setting up the second half for the Falcons. "I thought the two plays at the end of the half were confidence builders," said Jans. "We felt like the lead was not insurmountable."
At the start of the second half the Falcons picked-up right where they left off. Bowling Green kept chipping away at the lead and finally took it back, 41-40 with 12:21 to play on a Richaun Holmes layup. The Flashes came right back and retook the lead as the two teams traded the lead for several minutes. However, the Flashes took a 57-49 lead on a Devareaux Manley three pointer with 6:41 to play.
Then Parker took over. He scored 12 of the next 15 Bowling Green points, and just that fast the Falcons were back in front 61-58 with just over three minutes left to play. The Flashes would again cut the Falcon lead to a single point on two different occasions in the final minutes but it was Parker again with a clutch three pointer with 46 seconds left that gave Bowling Green a 64-60 lead. That proved to be the dagger as Bowling Green hung on for the impressive road win in Jans' first MAC game.
Jans said he wasn't surprised by the second half outburst by Parker. "We don't win that game without Spencer Parker," said Jans. "He's been practicing really well. We've been waiting for him to have a game like this."
Parker finished with 16 points on 6 of 11 from the field, including 2 of 2 from the three point line. Richaun Holmes led the Falcons in scoring with 22, and also had five rebounds and three blocked shots. Anthony Henderson, Zach Denny and Jevon Clarke all contributed seven points each for the Falcons.
Hall led all scorers for Kent State with 25, to go along with seven rebounds and two blocks. Devareaux Manley had 13 points for the Flashes and Khaliq Spicer had 10 rebounds.
The Falcons shot 42 percent (24-56) for the game from the field, and a blistering 8 of 15 from three point. The Falcons also were 10 of 11 from the free throw line. Kent State shot 44 percent from the field on 24 of 54 shooting, including just 6 of 21 from three point.
The Flashes won the battle of the boards 36-29, but Bowling Green's pressure forced Kent State into 14 turnovers to just 10 for the Falcons.
With the win, Bowling Green in now 9-3 on the year and 1-0 in the MAC. Kent State falls to 9-5 on the season and 0-1 in the MAC.
Bowling Green will return home on Saturday to face the Ohio Bobcats, while the Flashes will travel to Deklab, Illinois to take on the Northern Illinois Huskies.
|Player||Kent State ||Bowling Green
|Points||J. Hall (25)||R. Holmes (20)|
|Rebounds||C. Ortiz (10)||R. Holmes (5)|
|Assists||K. Brewer (6)||J. Austin (6)|
|Blocks||K. Spicer (3)||R. Holmes (3)|
|Steals||D. Manley (1)||D. Joseph (3)|