Bowling Green fouled a three-point shooter and missed four of its six free throws in the final 193
seconds of Tuesday’s Mid-American Conference game.
Without a lead larger than five points in the stretch, the Falcons responded to their mistakes with
strong defense and a handful of tough shots to outlast Eastern Michigan 62-59 at the Stroh Center.
“The biggest thing is we never gave up. We never put our heads down and started to mope or any of that
stuff,” BG head coach Michael Huger said. “We continued to defend and that was what it was. We were able
to get the stops we needed at the end.”
BG, which remains tied with Akron atop the MAC East standings, improved to 14-5 overall and 5-1 in the
MAC. EMU, which has now lost three league games by three points or less, dropped to 10-9 and 0-6.
Bowling Green began to find answers to EMU’s suffocating two-three zone, holding its largest lead — 12
points — midway through the second half. Its lead was slowly wiped away to a 51-51 tie with 5:50 to
Mike Laster, who leads the MAC in assist-to-turnover ratio, helped snap a five-minute scoring drought
with one of his team-high four assists on a bounce pass to Trey Diggs in the right corner. Diggs buried
the triple for a 54-51 lead with 4:29 remaining.
But EMU answered with a pair of free throws a minute later before Diggs missed the first foul shot of a
one-and-one and Laster slapped an Eagles 3-point shooter on the arm just seconds later. Marcus Gibbs hit
two of three free throws to take a 55-54 lead — the Eagles’ first lead since the first half.
Despite three more missed free throws in the final 2:05 for BG, Justin Turner immediately answered EMU’s
one-point lead with a couple dribble moves atop the 3-point arc before driving into the paint and
sinking a long floater.
Daeqwon Plowden stretched the lead to 58-55 just over a minute later with a jab step into a pull-up
jumper from the right block before Turner — while falling backward after absorbing contact — canned
another layup to keep the lead at three. Turner then hit BG’s only two free throws in the final minutes
to take a 62-57 lead with 18.5 seconds left.
“My mindset is doing whatever we can to win the game. And my force there would be scoring so I know that
when time’s kind of going down, that the ball kind of needs to be in my hands — whether I have to demand
it or we run a play for me,” Turner, who scored a game-high 25 points, said. “Try to get us a good look
and fortunately this game I was able to knock ‘em in.”
EMU’s zone defense is spearheaded in the middle by 7-foot center Boubacar Toure, and strengthened by
athletic wings scattered across the arc.
The zone gave the Falcons, who made just 10 field goals in the first 20 minutes, problems in the first
half. BG added just 13 more field goals in the second half and finished with a pedestrian 36.5 shooting
But Bowling Green knew how to attack.
“Just being patient but at the same time being aggressive and eventually you’ll find a recipe to crack
it,” Turner said.
“We practice the zone every day. We know how to attack the zone, we had the shots that we wanted. We had
the people taking the shots that we wanted. Now you have to make them, but it’s easier said than done,”
“It’s just about knocking down your shots. If you can knock down your shots against the zone, you’ll be
successful. But they take so many things away, and it’s so big and so athletic that it makes everything
difficult. Everything is a fight.”
Plowden, who had a one-handed transition dunk over 6-3 guard Darion Spottsville, scored 17, and led BG in
both rebounds (9) and steals (3).
Richaun Holmes, a former BGSU standout basketball player now playing wit the NBA’s Sacramento Kings, was
in attendance and erupted out of his seat while doing a courtside interview in awe of Plowden’s dunk.
Toure led the Eagles with a 17-point, 13-rebound double-double and added three first-half blocks. Noah
Morgan played all 40 minutes and scored 16 with six turnovers.