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Published: Thursday, 2/12/2009

UT's rally not enough against BGSU

BY MAUREEN FULTON
BLADE SPORTS WRITER
Bowling Green's Brian Moten (1) and Otis Polk, right, trap Toledo's Ridley Johnson, center, during the second half last night. Bowling Green's Brian Moten (1) and Otis Polk, right, trap Toledo's Ridley Johnson, center, during the second half last night.
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Rivals with seasons heading in opposite directions met last night at Savage Arena.

Bowling Green, the team that has learned how to win in conference play, defeated the University of Toledo, a team that if it's learned anything, its record doesn't show it.

BG withstood a late Rockets charge to win its sixth straight game, 59-54. UT, meanwhile, has lost six games in a row.

"Our guys, they show great will at the end of games," BG coach Louis Orr said.

UT dropped to 4-20, the Rockets' first 20-loss season since the 1991-92 campaign. That also was the last year UT had a losing record at home, which is now guaranteed for this season. The Rockets are 3-7 at Savage Arena with three home games left.

Bowling Green s Nate Miller, top, and Toledo s Jonathan Amos scramble for a loose ball during the second half at Savage Arena. Bowling Green s Nate Miller, top, and Toledo s Jonathan Amos scramble for a loose ball during the second half at Savage Arena.
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The Falcons (14-9) improved to 7-3 in Mid-American Conference play.

"They made the plays necessary in order to win," UT coach Gene Cross said. "When the plays presented themselves to us, we didn't make them. They had a lot of confidence going in, they were going to make the plays."

BG led the entire game in front of the crowd of 5,421, forcing the Rockets into 36 percent shooting for its first win in Toledo since 1999. Darryl Clements led the Falcons with 15 points and four assists. Nate Miller added 14

points and seven rebounds.

The Falcons built an 11-point advantage with 5 1/2 minutes remaining, only to see it whittled down to two when Jonathan Amos exerted his will on the game and the Rockets (2-8 MAC) converted off turnovers. Amos led UT with 21 points and a career-high 11 rebounds.

Tyrone Kent's lay-in made the score 50-48 BG. UT forced a turnover on BG's next possession, but the ball rolled around on the floor, and the Rockets couldn't get anything out of it. With 1:44 to play, Brian Moten knocked down a 3-pointer that gave BG a five-point lead.

"Chris Knight really did a nice job finding Brian Moten," Orr said. "That's where we look, to the corner, when you get stuck on the baseline. That was a huge shot. That was big."

On the Rockets' next two offensive possessions, they were called for charging fouls. The Falcons made four of seven free throws to ensure victory.

"We fought back, but they just withstood our punch," Amos said. "We hit 'em with a nice little blow, but they were right there. That's why they've won now six in a row."

During the frantic comeback try by the home team, BG stayed ahead with its seniors Clements, Moten and Miller scoring key points.

"We all three know how to lead," Clements said. "We kept huddling up, telling each other to keep our poise. We stayed together the whole time."

BG took a 15-4 lead to start, but UT stalled the Falcons' halfcourt offense and forced turnovers to go on a 9-0 run to get back into the game.

BG went on an 8-2 run in the last 2:13 of the first half to take a nine-point lead into halftime. Sophomore Joe Jakubowski made the Rockets pay with two 3-pointers to re-extend the Falcons' lead.

"It was one of our standard mental lapses that we have had time and time again," Cross said. "In the last four-minute stretch in the end of the half that teams have gone on and had their biggest leads on us, it's lack of communication, lack of focus."

UT's second-half defense made the game close again. In the final minutes, the Falcons simply repeated what has made them successful and the Rockets couldn't find a winning formula.

"Our guys, they held onto the lead and made plays at the end," Orr said. "They deserve credit for that."

Contact Maureen Fulton at:

mfulton@theblade.com

or 419-724-6160.



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