The Bowling Green Falcons allowed the Kent State Golden Flashes to hang around for much of the first half, but a superior defensive effort in the final 20 minutes propelled BGSU to an 82-38 demolition of Kent State.
The mere 38 points by Kent State represent the third straight time the Flashes have failed to score 40 against BGSU. The same can be claimed in four of the last five meetings. The Flashes have now failed to put up as many as 50 points in the last six meetings and as many as 60 in the last 10. In fact, Kent State has not scored more than 61 points against Bowling Green in five years.
The victory marked the 100th in the careers of Bowling Green's 2014 senior class. This year's seniors are the eighth consecutive class to reach that milestone -- which is an average of 25 wins per year. This was also the team's 24th victory of the season, and BGSU has now won at least that many games in nine consecutive seasons. This win also guarantees fewer than five conference losses in a season for the ninth time in 10 years.
|(Click link for boxscore)
|Kent State Golden Flashes
|Bowling Green Falcons||41
Kent State took the opening tip and, in what would be a dark harbinger of things to come, turned the ball over on a shot-clock violation. It was the first of nine turnovers in the first 10:30 of the game, and that total eventually became 13 in the first half and 22 for the entire game. It was also the first of several shot-clock violations, as the Flashes repeatedly had difficulty running their offense late in the shot clock.
Bowling Green took advantage of the turnovers by rushing to an 11-2 lead. After Kent State scored four points to briefly cut their deficit to five, Jasmine Matthews stepped up and delivered a pair of 3-pointers for a 17-6 BGSU lead after the first 10:30 minutes.
The Golden Flashes were able to stay step-for-step with the Falcons during the following nine minutes. Bowling Green was making most of their shots, even from long range, but Kent State was doing even better. The Flashes were able to break down BGSU's defense to find exposed lanes, and eventually, a jumper by CiCii Shannon cut the Falcons' lead to just 34-26 with 1:07 left in the half.
At that point, Bowling Green got serious and had some good fortune go its way, as well. Erica Donovan followed Shannon's shot with a layup, and Jill Stein stole the ball from Amber Dunlap on the ensuing possession. With nine seconds on the clock, Alexis Rogers found Jillian Halfhill on the left wing for a 3-pointer. Halfhill was fouled by Mikell Chinn on the play. She missed the free throw, but two offensive rebounds ultimately led to a Rogers layup with just over one second remaining. Kent State was not able to get a shot off, and BGSU went to the half with a 41-26 lead.
At the half, Bowling Green was shooting 61.5 percent (16-of-26) and was 7-of-11 from beyond the arc, but they weren't the best shooting team on the floor. Kent State made an astounding 70.6 percent (12-of-17) of their field goals, but all but two of those makes were inside the paint. Each team finished the half with a puny nine rebounds. Clearly, KSU's 13 turnovers were the difference in the half.
The Falcons wasted no time ending whatever hope Kent State had left at the beginning of the second half. They scored 10 straight points in the first four minutes to open the period, which extended their run to 17-0 and their lead to 51-26.
Bowling Green continued to increase their lead throughout the second half, as the Flashes simply had no answers on the offensive end. They had only two field goals and five total points during the first 14 minutes of the period and didn't cross the 10-point barrier until there was just 3:32 left on the clock and BGSU was up by 37. Bowling Green closed the game on a 10-0 run for the final 44-point margin.
The difference in Kent State's shooting between the two halves is hard to be believed. After shooting over 70 percent in the first half, they made went just 4-for-26 from the floor (15.4%) in the second. That total included an 0-for-7 performance from behind the arc.
Ultimately, KSU shot 37.2 percent compared to 56.9 percent for BGSU. The Falcons made nine 3-pointers as opposed to Kent State's two, and they were 15-of-22 from the free throw line while the Flashes attempted only eight free throws during the entire game.
The Falcons out-rebounded the Flashes 31-26 and out-scored them 13-0 in second chance points. They forced 22 turnovers and committed only eight, which resulted in a 28-11 edge in points off turnovers. BGSU was also whistled for only nine fouls.
Rogers led the Falcons with 18 points, and she also contributed four rebounds, four steals and three assists. Halfhill added 15 points and five rebounds, while Matthews poured in 13. The pair were a combined 7-of-8 from 3-point range. Shannon was the Kent State leader in points (10) and rebounds (7).
Bowling Green is now 24-3 overall and 14-1 n the MAC. They play their final home game of the regular season on Sunday when they host the Ohio Bobcats. Kent State drops to 6-20 overall and 3-12 in the MAC. The Flashes host Akron on Sunday in what will also be their final home game of the season.