Usually when a team loses you can point to three or four things they could have done better in order to win the game. But, in Bowling Green's case in Saturday's game against Western Michigan, one thing stood way above all else: free throws.
The Falcons were just 15-32 from the charity stripe (47 percent), which included a gut-wrenching 3-8 performance in the last two minutes of the game. It wasn't like the game was out of reach by that point either - Bowling Green had climbed back from being down 14 early in the second half to just down three with two minutes left.
The circumstances that surrounded that last two minutes will also cause the Falcons to kick themselves when they go back and watch the game tape. Down by double digits a good part of the second half, the Falcons started making a run with a little over five minutes remaining. A Wes Alcegaire 3-pointer cut the Western Michigan lead to seven at 64-57 and BG was on the cusp of making this a game.
A Spencer Parker layup with 2:21 remaining cut the lead to just 3 at 68-65, and then the madness began. Western Michigan point guard Thomas Wilder committed an offensive foul to give BG back the ball. Then Parker was fouled by A.J. Avery driving to the lane, after which Avery picked up a technical to foul him out and give the Falcons four free throws and a chance to finally take the lead.
But, as Bowling Green had done all day, Parker split the pair and Ismail Ali split the technical pair, and the Falcons still found themselves down by one. Wilder split a pair of free throws on the other end, and Ali was fouled on the next possession. He missed both, and another opportunity for BG to tie the game was lost.
Western Michigan did the complete opposite in the last minute and closed out the game on the line. Wilder and Tucker Haymond hit two each and Kellen McCormick split his free throw attempts, and the Broncos left Bowling Green with their first road win of the season.
It wasn't all just Bowling Green not getting it done on the free throw line - the Broncos played really well. They shot 51 percent from the field (65 percent in the first half) and 77 percent from the line. The Bronco centers both had big days, with Drake LaMont scoring 17 and Seth Dugan netting 14 points and 6 boards. Haymond and Wilder both had solid games as well scoring 14 each.
Parker led the Falcons with 16 while Alcegaire had 15. Demajeo Wiggins scored 13 off of the bench, but was one of the main culprits of the free throw ineptitude, going 3-11.
Bowling Green heads to Northern Illinois on Tuesday, while Western Michigan travels to Kent State.
|Player||Bowling Green||Western Michigan|
|Points||S. Parker (16)||D. LaMont (17)|
|Rebounds||D. Wiggins (8)||D. LaMont (7)|
|Assists||I. Ali (5)||Two tied (3)|
|Blocks||Two tied (2)||Two tied (1)|
|Steals||Z. Denny (2)||T. Wilder (3)|