BOWLING GREEN - Time was running out, and the Bowling Green men s basketball team needed a bucket.
Trailing by two, it looked as if the Falcons rematch with Toledo were about to be a repeat of the first contest a month ago at Savage Hall. In that game BG s tying 3-point shot at the buzzer bounced away.
This time things were the same. And at the same time, the ending was different.
Last night Josh Alman-son was there to corral the rebound of the 3-point miss. He powered the ball into the hoop, was fouled, and made the free throw to get the Falcons in position for a 79-76 overtime win at Anderson Arena.
Ron Lewis led BG with 20 points. Kevin Netter added 19 and John Reimold 16.
Sammy Villegas paced UT with 17.
“This was kind of like when we played up there,” said BG coach Dan Dakich. “It was two teams that played a great basketball game.”
But how different was this? The victory, Bowling Green s third in a row, ended UT s recent dominance in the series. The Rockets had won the previous four and seven of the last eight.
“We ve struggled with them, and we re tired of losing to them,” Almanson said.
It looked as if the Falcons were just tired as the two teams moved into overtime tied at 69. Reimold s 3-pointer at the 4:11 mark provided BG s only points in the first 3:23 as Toledo jumped out to a 76-72 advantage.
But the Rockets did not score again while the Falcons found a way to scratch out the points they needed to win.
“We took some quick shots, some ill-advised shots at a bad time,” said Toledo coach Stan Joplin of his team s late struggles. “We had chances, but we didn t make plays. That s what it came down to. They made some plays down the stretch, and we didn t.”
BG landed the first punch with a 6-0 run that gave the Falcons a 30-25 lead with 4:59 left in the first half.
But the Rockets responded with a 10-4 run in the final two minutes of the period to take a 38-35 lead at the break. UT s Keith Triplett, who had just one point before that run, hit a pair of treys and scored eight of the Rockets points.
Allen Pinson scored all eight of his points in the first four minutes of the second half to help Toledo build an early 48-41 lead, but BG kept pushing and finally tied the game at 54 with 8:42 left.
Netter s rebound basket at 6:04 helped start a 6-0 Falcon run that gave BG a 65-60 lead, but the Rockets scored the next five points to tie it.
Eyink s trey with 1:05 to play gave BG the lead back, but A.J. Shellabarger s layup with just 17 seconds left set up overtime.
Overtime would have seemed to favor the Rockets, since the Falcons were playing without two injured players in Germain Fitch and Matt Lefeld.
“I felt we really got wore out, but we had enough heart to sustain us,” Dakich said. “Not to say we had more heart than they did. I felt they had great heart, too. Both teams battled like crazy. But I ve got guys in our locker room who are more than whipped. They are whipped on whipped.”
The Rockets got a pair of free throws by Justin Ingram to start the extra session, and both Shellabarger and Villegas scored to give Toledo a 76-72 lead.
Then, nothing fell for the Rockets, who dropped to 16-9 overall and 10-6 in the MAC with their fourth straight loss.
“We had lay-ups and we didn t make them,” Joplin said. “We had good looks at the basket. We had lay-ups, we had free throws. The table was set; we just didn t close it out.”
Bowling Green did, getting a lay-up by Steven Wright to cut UT s lead to a deuce and set the stage for Almanson s heroics. After Almanson sank his free throw to give the Falcons the lead, Triplett drove the length of the court but missed a tough lay-up.
Eyink got the rebound, was fouled with less than two seconds left, and made both free throws to sew up the win for the Falcons (13-13, 8-7).
Toledo had one last chance to tie, but Ingram s mid-court 3-point attempt bounced off the back iron.
UT s struggles on offense late didn t bother Joplin as much as his team s defense at that point.
“We went for the steal, and we got out of position and they took advantage of that,” Joplin said. “If we would have played solid defense we would have been in great shape. We just didn t play solid defense.”
NOTES: The Falcons have won five straight home overtime games since their last overtime loss at Anderson Arena, a 66-64 loss to Defiance in 1985. ... UT leads the BG series 78-72.