Bowling Green guard Ron Lewis scores two of his 31 points over Marshall s Eric Smith, left, and Mark Patton (31). Patton led the Thundering Herd with 17 points.
Morrison / Blade photo Enlarge
BOWLING GREEN - Shooting troubles? Did somebody say something about shooting troubles?
Bowling Green State University s basketball team, which struggled to make shots in a loss Wednesday to Kent State, couldn t miss in the second half of a foul-plagued 88-73 victory over Marshall at Anderson Arena yesterday.
The Falcons made 57.9 percent of their shots from behind the 3-point arc - after mak-ing just 8 of 32 three days earlier - and hit all but five of their 32 free-throw attempts to snap a two-game losing streak. BG is 9-10 overall, 5-4 in the MAC.
“When you lose your confidence in yourselves and your teammates, that s when things go bad,” said John Reimold, who made six of 11 3-pointers to finish with 28 points. “Coach told us that if we got a shot we had to knock it in. We couldn t be thinking about the Kent game.”
In the early going it was Marshall that displayed the hot shooting touch. The Thundering Herd broke a 20-20 tie at the nine-minute mark with an 11-3 run over the next 2:30 and made more than half of its shots from the floor - as well as all nine free throw attempts Yet BG trailed just 40-38 at the half by holding Marshall off the scoreboard for the final 2:49 of the period.
“Quite frankly I was surprised that we were only down two [at the half],” said Bowling Green coach Dan Dakich. “With [Kevin] Netter going to the bench and with us playing so lackadaisically, we were exceptionally lucky not to be down double figures.”
BG heated up offensively in the second half thanks to Reimold, Ron Lewis and Steven Wright, who scored all but two of the Falcons 50 points in that period.
With Marshall leading 55-53 at the 12:23 mark, Reimold sank his third 3-pointer of the half to give BG the lead for good. That triple sparked an 8-4 Falcon run that was helped by a cold shooting spell by the Herd, which missed 6 of 7 field-goal attempts and all but one of its five free throws in a four-minute span.
In that interval the Falcons used a smaller lineup - only one player was taller than 6-6 - and it seemed to speed up the pace, something Dakich said favored BG.
“In the second half we were able to come up with loose balls and we were able to get out on the break,” he said. “That s the tempo we want, not because we think we re Loyola Marymount of the 80s but because our guys seem to be energized to play when the pace is faster.”
Lewis, who finished with a game-high 31 points, said the Falcons had to get better defensively in the second half after struggling in the first.
“We had to pick it up,” he said. “They were scoring basket after basket in the first half and we had to pick up our intensity on defense.”
Marshall was able to cut the lead to 66-65 on a rebound basket by LaVar Carter with 6:54 left, but Wright s driving layup 20 seconds later jump-started a 22-8 Falcon run to finish the game.
“Bowling Green really played a great second half,” said Marshall coach Ron Jirsa. “Because we weren t able to score, we weren t able to change defenses as much as we would like. The way they were driving against the man-to-man was causing as much of a problem as open shooters were against the zone. You had to pick your poison.”
The Falcons, who also entered the contest as the MAC s best free throw shooting team, did little to harm that mark by making their last 11 free-throws. BG made 27 of 32 from the foul line in a game that featured 48 fouls and 61 free throws.
Lewis made 12 of 14 free throws. Wright, who finished with 13 points, made 8 of 10.
Mark Patton led four players in double figures with 17 points for Marshall (7-10, 4-5), which lost for the sixth time in the last eight games.
Cole Magner and Keon Newson have left the Falcon basketball team to return to the football squad for winter drills. Senior Jabari Mattox was not on the bench yesterday and apparently has left the team.
“It s one of those deals where [Magner and Newson] are going into their senior year [of football],” Dakich said. “These two guys are on NFL lists and I think they need to [focus on football]. That s best for their future.”
Magner had 11 points and four assists in five games, while Newson scored four points in three games.
Mattox had four points and 31 assists in 12 games but has not played since Jan. 7.
“We had a meeting last night after practice,” Dakich said. “Nothing was settled, so we ll see how it goes.”