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Published: Sunday, 2/26/2012

Falcons thump Kent State at Stroh Center

BY JOHN WAGNER
BLADE SPORTS WRITER
Bowling Green's A'uston Calhoun dunks the ball while being defended by Kent State's Patrick Jackson. Bowling Green's A'uston Calhoun dunks the ball while being defended by Kent State's Patrick Jackson.
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BOWLING GREEN -- The last time the Bowling Green State University men's basketball team faced Kent State, the Falcons gave up 92 points.

Saturday BG cut that total by 34, claiming a 74-58 win over the Golden Flashes at the Stroh Center.

PHOTO GALLERY: Men's basketball: BGSU vs. Kent State

The difference in the two games, according to Bowling Green coach Louis Orr, was that Saturday's contest was played on the Falcons' terms.

"You're either going to play the game on their terms or your terms," Orr said. "The way the game started, it started on their terms -- we weren't getting stops, and they were getting baskets.

"But if our zone is active, we have a chance to slow things down. And when we were solid with our defense, we had a chance to at least make them work."

The Falcons improved to 15-13 overall and 8-6 in the Mid-American Conference thanks to 21 points by Scott Thomas, 17 from A'uston Calhoun, and 15 from Torian Oglesby.

Carlton Guyton scored 17 points, and Justin Greene added 16 for Kent State (19-9, 9-5).

Both teams got off to quick starts offensively, with each reaching double digits by the 15:33 mark of a contest that saw four ties in the first eight minutes.

BG outscored the Golden Flashes 13-7 in the last 8:31 to lead 38-32 at the break, with Thomas hitting a pair of 3's in that late surge.

Thomas, who had 15 points in the first half, was 4-for-7 on 3's in the first and 6-for-10 in the game. He has hit 14-of-25 3-pointers in the last two home contests.

"It's the home-court advantage," Thomas said. "I'm just familiar with the surroundings.

"Coach [Dennis] Hopson always talks about getting 'my' shot. I felt I could shoot over Michael Porrini because of the height difference, so I was able to come off some screens and shoot over the top of him."

Bowling Green forced KSU to commit 16 turnovers in the first half, and the Falcons scored 19 points off those miscues.

"We just played a solid [2-3 zone], we really didn't trap much in the first half," Thomas said. "Everybody had their hands up, and we were able to get a lot of deflections."

In the second half the BG offense revolved around Calhoun and Oglesby. Calhoun scored 14 points in the half, mostly in half-court sets, while Oglesby used his energy for offensive rebounds and dunks to score 11 points in the period.

"I think what got me rolling offensively was that my team wanted to keep me incorporated in the offense," Calhoun said. "At halftime, they said they wanted to come to me first play.

"If they're going to come to me, I have to respond. And they found me in the right position, so I didn't have to do much except lay the ball up."

And while the BG defense wasn't able to create as many turnovers in the second half, the Falcons forced Kent State to shoot just 40 percent from the field in the period and make just 1-of-9 3-pointers and never allowed the Flashes to creep closer than three points. Bowling Green held KSU scoreless over the game's final 5:29 to win at home for the fifth straight game.

"I thought we guarded the 3-point line better in the second half," Orr said. "They are tough, because you have to deal with their guys in the high post and their athletes along the baseline.

"I thought our activity and energy were better."

The victory allowed BG to keep alive its hopes of earning a bye in the MAC tournament while maintaining a fifth-place tie with Eastern Michigan in the standings.

"We've played well enough the last few games to know we can [win]," Orr said.

"The game had ebbs and flows, peaks and valleys. But in crucial times, we were able to string stops together."

Contact John Wagner at: jwagner@theblade.com, 419-724-6481, or on Twitter @jwagnerblade.



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