Temperatures in Athens Tuesday night were frigid, but Bowling Green’s second-half shooting was anything but.
A 20-of-36 performance from the field in the final 20 propelled Bowling Green (11-5, 2-1) to a 91-75 comeback road victory against Ohio (10-5, 1-2).
Bowling Green’s second half performance stood as a far cry from its opening half output where the Falcons shot an abysmal 11-of-30 from the field. Bowling Green’s scheme did not vary, nor did Ohio’s man defense, but shot selection improved and shots began to fall.
The Falcons pressed the issue on the glass, out-rebounding the ‘Cats 42-32 and taking advantage of Tony Campbell’s foul situation. Campbell looked effective when he was in, but five fouls limited Ohio’s most imposing post player to just 16 minutes. Fellow starters Kenny Kaminski, Treg Setty, Jaaron Simmons and Jordan Dartis found themselves in foul trouble as well, including five on Simmons.
Bowling Green did well to spread the wealth on the offensive in with five players chipping in at least 12 points. Spencer Parker had his way close to the rim, leading all scorers with 22 in addition to eight rebounds.
"I thought our guys played hard and executed the game plan," Bowling Green head coach Michael Huger "We want to attack the pain. It's something that we do...We did a good job at attacking the paint."
Ohio finished 27-of-55 from the field, but cooled off considerably after scoring 31 points in the game's first 11 minutes.
The Falcons never fully buried the Bobcats, especially as starters began to shuffle back in, but a late scuffle quelled any Ohio momentum. As Ismail Ali rose up for a 3-pointer in front of the Bowling Green bench with just under four to player, Jaaron Simmons hit him with a hard foul and the two flew into the bench. The shot went in and as Bowling Green’s bench began to celebrate around the tangled players, several Ohio players rushed in to get Simmons out of the pile.
A scuffle broke out and players needed to be separated. No punches were thrown, but there was plenty of pushing and shoving. After a 15-minute video review to sort out the chaos, Kaminski, Setty, and Khari Harley were each assessed double technical fouls. Ali sank five free throws to put the game away.
"Whenever it goes in your favor, it's always the right call," Huger said with a laugh when assessing the calls after the altercation.
When Simmons hit the deck, other Ohio players sprinted to assist their trapped teammate. Referees called technicals because of the Ohio players entering Bowling Green's bench area, but since no punches were thrown and it was not officially deemed a fight, Bowling Green escaped with just one technical foul.
"I'll never tell my guys to not pick their teammates up," coach Saul Phillips said with some emotion. "It was a frustrating way to end the game."
Phillips was assessed a technical foul of his own approximately a minute and a half later for arguing a foul. Play remained heated for the remainder of the ball game. Security was brought on after the final buzzer, but no further altercations occurred.
The loss was Ohio's first in the Convocation Center this season.
Bowling Green will look to keep the good vibes going at Eastern Michigan while Ohio will travel to Kent State.