KENT, Ohio — The roller-coaster season for the Bowling Green State University men’s basketball team featured a ride-within-a-ride at Kent State on Tuesday.
The Falcons fell behind big early, then rallied near the end of the half. BG eventually found a way to take a lead, then saw the bottom drop out in the final seven minutes in a game it lost 69-61.
“We felt we had the game right there,” said A’uston Calhoun, who led the Falcons with 13 points and seven rebounds. “We decided to stick together through some early adversity, and it paid off. But we couldn’t string together another stops, and when we struggled on offense that’s a tough combination.
“In the last five or six minutes, we didn’t give ourselves a chance to win.”
Jordon Crawford and Richaun Holmes backed Calhoun with 12 and 11 points, respectively, for Bowling Green (12-18, 6-9 Mid-American).
Randal Holt had 16 points for Kent State (18-12, 8-7), while Chris Evans and Darren Goodson each scored 12 and Kris Brewer 11.
The Falcons made just one of their first 10 shots to fall behind 14-2 in the first eight minutes. BG seemed unable to come back, trailing 35-18 after a dunk by Evans with 2:24 left.
Bowling Green caught lightning in a bottle, scoring 11 points in the final two minutes, and suddenly a 17-point deficit was sliced to 35-29 at halftime.
“We were better in transition,” Orr said. “When we were able to run, we were able to attack the basket. …
“I thought our energy was good, and our bench gave us a big lift. Any time we could get out in transition, or get into the lane, we were successful.”
In the second half the Falcons made several runs, cutting their deficit to a single possession four times in the first six minutes. All four times Kent State made a 3-pointer — two by Brewer, two by Holt — to hold Bowling Green off.
BG hung tough, and when Craig Sealey took a rebound, dribbled the length of the floor and dunked with 7:29 left, the Falcons led 58-57.
BG produced just three points the rest of the game. The Falcons shot 1-for-13 in that span, with Crawford missing eight shots.
“We have two seniors in Jordon and A’uston who are guys will try to take the game and make the plays,” Orr said. “I respect the courage of our older guys, but we’ve got to make better plays.”
Calhoun said Kent State made a defensive adjustment that bogged down BG’s offense.
“We ran a lot of double-ball screens, and after we had our spurt they started to blitz those ball screens,” Calhoun said. “They tried to trap Jordon and force him to give the ball up, or at least string him out to half court.
“That had us in scatter mode. We weren’t able to get in very good offense once they started to do that.”
Contact John Wagner at: firstname.lastname@example.org, 419-724-6481 or on Twitter @jwagnerblade.