KENT, Ohio - Bowling Green State University struggled to finish strong in its first two Mid-American Conference games of the season.
As a result, BG suffered two disappointing defeats.
However, the recent trend stopped yesterday afternoon when BG outscored Kent State University 13-4 in the final two minutes to overcome a six-point deficit and escape with a 76-70 victory before a crowd of 3,658 at the MAC Center.
Sophomore forward Scott Thomas poured in eight of his career-high 27 points during a late-game run.
"We felt today was a must-win," said Thomas, who went 8-for-10 from the field, including 3-for-5 from 3-point range. "Last year we beat Ohio on the road to get us started, so we thought this would be a good starting point."
Fellow sophomore Dee Brown also came through in the clutch and scored 21 points, including five 3-pointers. His 3-pointer at the top of the arc with just over three minutes to play cut Kent's lead to 64-61.
"Scott Thomas and Dee Brown are growing up in a hurry," BG coach Louis Orr said. "They're sophomores, but today they played like seniors. They really stepped up and made the big shots when we needed them."
There were plenty of positives that played a part in the Falcons (8-7, 1-2 MAC) knocking off the Golden Flashes (10-7, 1-2), who led by as many as 10 points in the second half.
The Falcons produced one of their best shooting performances of the season, knocking down 26 of 51 attempts (51 percent), including 8-for-16 from behind the 3-point arc.
The Falcons also made 16 of 18 foul shots, and Joe Jakubowski dished out 11 assists.
"I take my hat off to Joe [Jakubowski], I thought he played one of his best point guard games of his career," Orr said. "He was a leader out there."
Yesterday's win wasn't just because of BG's offense. The Falcons held the Flashes to 36 percent shooting (22 of 61) and outrebounded Kent 37-32.
"At the end of the day if you're down six [points] with three and some odd minutes left and you don't get stops and you trade baskets, you lose by six," Orr said. "You can't play tag at the end of games. You have to be able to get stops and you have to be able to convert those stops into scores."
Mike McKee came off the bench for the Flashes to pump in a team-high 20 points, including six 3-pointers. Justin Greene, Tyree Evans, and Chris Singletary finished with 13 points each.
But Kent's offensive productivity went awry down the stretch, being limited to six points during the final three minutes by the Falcons. McKee said the Flashes changed their offensive strategy late in the game when they owned the lead to take more time off the clock before attempting a shot.
Kent coach Geno Ford believes the Flashes were too inconsistent with their shooting.
"We were 11-for-33 on layups and that's not going to win games," Ford said.
He added: "We weren't tough enough to finish around the basket. Maybe their size and strength had something to do with that."
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or 419-724-6302.41.15093 -81.35822 Bowling Green State University struggled to finish strong in its first two Mid-American Conference games of the season.