Bowling Green State University knew it couldn't accept another loss to Arkansas State this season. The Indians posted a win in the first meeting between the teams last month.
In the past three weeks, the Falcons have learned a little offensive patience and used it to beat Arkansas State 81-72 at Anderson Arena last night.
The score is deceiving, as the Falcons led by more than 10 the entire second half until the final eight seconds and were up as many as 20 points.
The Falcons, who improved to 4-2, made 13 3-pointers, including five from Martin Samarco and four from Ryne Hamblet. But there were also backdoor cuts for layups and post maneuvers from Erik Marschall, who had 14 in the first half before leaving with a foot injury.
"We made a big deal about, 'don't lose twice,'•" BGSU coach Dan Dakich said.
"We had a little patience, we moved the ball around. It felt like more guys are understanding where to go in the offense, cutting and moving as opposed to just standing around."
ASU (4-7) won 64-54 in Jonesboro on Nov. 16. That night the Falcons were missing layups, let alone outside jumpers. They shot just 27 percent.
"We had open shots last game, and we just weren't knocking them down," freshman Ryan Sims said. "Today, we made our open shots, and I thought that really was the difference."
In front of a crowd of 1,724, BGSU won its third straight. Samarco led five players scoring in double digits with 29 points, his second straight game with that total.
"Where you saw guys shot-faking, they were shooting the [first] game," Dakich said. "Today we made the extra pass."
Indians guard Adrian Banks was making shots all over the floor and finished with 32.
But ASU's second-leading scorer, 6-foot-8 junior Isaac Wells, had just seven points. In the teams' first meeting, he had 13 points and 12 rebounds.
"The key to this game was definitely defense," sophomore Dusan Radivojevic said. "We stopped their big guys."
Hamblet had 12 points, eight rebounds, and seven assists, and Radivojevic had 10 points, six assists, and five rebounds.
Samarco shot 11-of-18 from the floor and also had five steals. He's leading the Mid-American Conference in scoring with 23.1 points per game.
"Before the game he said he was putting on his track shoes tonight, so I knew he was going to go out and do something," Sims said.
NOTES: Marschall came down wrong on his foot at the end of the first half "and felt a really sharp pain," Dakich said. He didn't play for the rest of the game and will have his foot X-rayed. Dakich passed John Weinert for fourth place on the all-time win list with his 147th career victory. BGSU plays at home on Saturday against Central Arkansas, a 2 p.m. start. The Falcons concluded their games against Sun Belt Conference teams, going 3-1.
Contact Maureen Fulton at: email@example.com or 419-724-6160.