Despite missing top scorer Richaun Homes, the Bowling Green Falcons (20-10) knocked out the Ball State Cardinals (7-23), 88-75, on Monday night to secure a second round date in Cleveland.
Bowling Green didn't hold back without their top player, as the Falcons dropped half a century on Ball State in the first half. In the first half, BG shot almost 59 percent; including knocking down 10 of 11 free throws and shooting 60 percent from deep. BSU freshman guard Sean Sellers, along with sophomore Zavier Turner and Franco House were able to keep Ball State within 6-10 points until about the five minute mark in the half, where Bowling Green used a small spurt to extend their lead to 16 before the half.
After halftime, Ball State scored six points in the first minute and a half to cut down Bowling Green's lead to ten before a Falcons' timeout slowed BSU's momentum, and BG had their lead at 12 by the 16 minute media timeout.
After a few minutes of back and forth bricks by both sides, Ball State finally ended the drought and minutes later, the Cards had pulled to within eight.
The Cards refused to quit, and by the time the eight minute media timeout rolled around, Ball State had continued to trim Bowling Green's lead, this time to just three. But just as it looked like Ball State was getting back into the game, the Falcons extended their lead to 70-60, prompting a Ball State timeout with a little over five minutes to play.
Once the Cards realized they were likely done unless they acted quickly, they proceeded the start running a full court press with just under four minutes left. After a couple of steals, BSU was back within seven.
Zack Denny sank a triple with a triple with a touch over two minutes left that just about sealed the Cardinals fate. Once the Falcons' lead was 83-73 with 1:15 left, it became safe to say BG was on their way to Cleveland.
So, the Falcons are off to Cleveland, where they'll play Eastern Michigan on Wednesday. Ball State, on the other hand, will be taking a 17-game losing streak into next season.
|Player||Bowling Green||Ball State|
|Points||A. Henderson (20)||B. Calhoun (17)|
|Rebounds||Z. Denny (5)||B. Calhoun (5)|
|Assists||D. Joseph (5)||Z. Turner (5)|
|Blocks||Two Players (1)||Two Players (1)|
|Steals||Five Players (1)||F. House (3)|