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Published: Sunday, 2/9/2014 - Updated: 5 months ago

Late Falcons’ bucket not enough

Zips prevail on Diggs' shot with 2.3 seconds to play

BY JOHN WAGNER
BLADE SPORTS WRITER
Bowling Green players and fans react after Akron took the lead with 2.3 seconds left in the contest on Sunday. Bowling Green players and fans react after Akron took the lead with 2.3 seconds left in the contest on Sunday.
BLADE/JETTA FRASER Enlarge

BOWLING GREEN — Jehvon Clarke’s 3-pointer with 9.9 seconds left tied the Bowling Green State University men’s basketball team’s contest against Akron Sunday.

Yet Clarke appeared in the postgame news conference looking worn and tired, not excited about his clutch basket.

That’s because the Zips’ Quincy Diggs trumped Clarke’s basket by making a jumper from the left wing with 2.3 seconds left to hand the Falcons a 65-63 loss at the Stroh Center.

PHOTO GALLERY: BGSU men fall to Akron 65-63

“We fought and fought, but we couldn’t get enough stops or enough rebounds to close out the game,” Clarke said. “No matter what we do offensively, this game is about getting stops down the stretch defensively.

“As you could see, Akron made the last shot.”

Clarke finished with 19 points to lead BG (10-13, 4-6 Mid-American Conference). Richaun Holmes posted a double-double with 14 points and 13 rebounds, while Spencer Parker posted 12 points and Cameron Black 10.

Diggs scored 14 points to lead Akron (16-7, 8-2), while Demetrius Treadwell had 12 and Nick Harney 11.

While the Falcons never led, they made several spirited runs in the game. The last began when Black scored in the lane with 4:01 left to begin a string of six straight possessions where BG scored at least one point.

With the Falcons trailing 63-60 in the finals seconds, Clarke banked in a 3-pointer taken from well above the top of the key.

“Jehvon wasn’t going to pass that ball,” Bowling Green coach Louis Orr said. “The play was for him to make a play. But it got to a point where I could see in his eyes, he was saying, ‘I’m shooting the 3.’

"And he hit a big-time shot.”

The Zips quickly inbounded the ball, raced downcourt, and found Diggs available on the left wing. Diggs drilled a jumper from just inside the 3-point arc with 2.3 seconds left to give the Zips the win.

“That was a tough shot,” Clarke said. “I thought I had a good defensive possession; instead of allowing him to drive I thought he settled for the shot. But he capitalized on the shot.”

That frenetic finish capped a contest where Bowling Green found itself constantly forced to come back. The Falcons trailed 35-21 with 2:12 left before scoring the last five points of the half.

BG again trailed by 14 just two minutes into the second period and still was down 52-42 with 9:34 to play. The Falcons again fought back and made it a one-possession game for most of the final six minutes.

“I give our guys credit — we kept fighting,” Orr said. “And we gave ourselves a chance to win. …

“But we hurt ourselves with second-chance points, and we hurt ourselves with [misses] at the free-throw line. We shot more free throws than they did, but when you’re playing at home against the first-place team in the league, you can’t hurt yourself.”

Bowling Green made just 14-of-22 free throws (63.6 percent) and had 18 turnovers, including 12 in the first half.

The Falcons also were outrebounded 33-29, and the Zips had 14 offensive boards they turned into 18 second-chance points.

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



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