The Bowling Green Falcons had the Akron Zips right where they wanted them on Saturday night. The Falcons led practically the entire game...38 of 40 minutes. The Falcons had leads of 14 points in the first half and 10 in the second half. They led by four points with under a minute to play. Yet somehow, the Zips manage to pull out a victory, 69-68 in a key Mid-American Conference east division showdown.
With the victory, Akron continues their remarkable mastery over Bowling Green. The Zips have now won 13 straight games against the Falcons and 21 of the last 22. For more than a decade, the Zips have owned the Falcons.
The third largest crowd (3,859) to see a men's basketball game in the Stroh Center's four-year history, surely thought this was the game the streak would end. The Falcons had the lead throughout the first half and lead 26-12 with five minutes left in the half. But, the Zips came back on the strength of a 17-3 run to tie the score, 29-29 at the intermission.
The second half was much the same, as the Falcons had the lead but could never seem to put Akron away. Bowling Green pushed their lead to 52-42 on a Spencer Parker layup with 8:41 left in the game. The Zips kept battling back and finally took their first lead of the game, 62-60 on a pair of free throws from Pat Forsythe with just 3:15 to play.
Just over a minute later, the Falcons would take the lead right back on a pair of free throws by Jehvon Clarke, 64-62. Then, Jovan Austin would score on a driving layup to push the Bowling Green lead to 66-62 with 1:01 left.
Akron's Noah Robotham then hit maybe the shot of the game, when he nailed a three-pointer from the top of the key to cut the BG lead to 66-65 with 49 seconds to play. On the ensuing inbounds play the Falcons turned the ball right back over to the Zips. Robotham hit another bucket to give the Zips the lead 67-66 with 25 seconds on the clock.
Austin would get fouled on the next Falcon possession and he hit both free throws to give Bowling Green the lead again, 68-67 with 17 seconds left on the clock. With just four second left, the Zips' B.J. Gladden would score the game-winner after grabbing an offensive rebound after a Robotham miss.
Bowling Green would call a timeout and Richuan Holmes would eventually get off a final three point shot that was no good. A stunned Bowling Green home crowd could only look on in disbelief as the Zips had done it to the Falcons once again.
Forsythe would lead the Zips in scoring with 20 points, while Gladden added 11. Kwan Cheatum, Jr. had nine points and a team high seven rebounds.
The Falcons were led by Holmes with 11 points and seven rebounds. Anthony Henderson was the only other Falcon in double figures with 10 points.
With the win, Akron is now 6-2 in the MAC and 15-6 overall. The Zips are tied for first place in the east division with Kent State. Akron will travel to Athens to take on the Ohio Bobcats on Wednesday.
The Falcons fall to 5-3 and 13-6 and are now tied for third place in the east with Buffalo. The Falcons travel to Central Michigan on Wednesday night to play the Chippewas.
|Player||Akron ||Bowling Green
|Points||P. Forsythe (20)||R, Holmes (11)|
|Rebounds||K. Cheatum (7)||R. Holmes (7)|
|Assists||N. Robotham (4)||J. Austin (5)|
|Blocks||K. Cheatam (1)||R. Holmes (1)|
|Steals||N. Evans (2)||Z. Denny (2)|