BOWLING GREEN — The 1990 Bowling Green State University men’s basketball team sprang a 98-85 upset on No. 5 Michigan State in front of 4,898 fans at Anderson Arena on Dec. 1, 1990.
And Spartans coach Jud Heathcote said he knew why the Falcons were able to pull off the upset.
“We got out-officiated, out-quicked, out-worked, and out-hustled — in that order,” Heathcote said after the game.
Of course, Heathcote conveniently forgot that the Falcons also had beaten MSU the previous year — on the Spartans’ home court, no less.
“Tell them they have to look at the same scoreboard,” BG forward Joe Moore said. “They have to give us some kind of respect.”
So how did the Falcons of coach Jim Larranaga win that contest against Michigan State, the defending Big Ten champs who came into the game ranked fifth nationally?
One thing Bowling Green did well was shoot the ball, connecting on 49.1 percent of their shots during the game.
Another was put together a long run that pushed Michigan State into a hole it never could escape. Michael Huger’s 3-pointer just four seconds before the half ended capped an 18-11 run over the final five minutes of the half that gave the Falcons a 40-37 lead at the break.
Bowling Green started the second half on an 8-0 run, and eventually led by as many as 18 points in the second half. The Spartans came no closer than eight points the rest of the way.
Another factor, of course, was Anderson Arena, which certainly earned its nickname as “The House That Roars” that day.
“The people [in the stands] created excitement,” Larranaga said after the win. “I hope they will continue to generate [that] excitement. … If we could have this kind of interest for all our games, our record at home would be incredible.
“I don’t think people realize how much of a factor they are.”
Clinton Venable led the Falcons with 24 points, thanks in part to four 3-pointers, while Moore posted a double-double with 23 points and 13 rebounds. Billy Johnson scored 14 and Steve Watson had 13 points and nine boards for BG.
Michigan State was led by Steve Smith, who scored 29 points before leaving with a sprained ankle at the 5:34 mark, while Matt Steigenga added 16 and current Northern Illinois coach Mark Montgomery 12.