CLEVELAND, Ohio - Freshman Antwon Lillard scored 26 points, including a three-pointer from the top of the key with 12.3 second remaining, to lift the Bowling Green Falcons over Central Michigan 62-59 Thursday at Quick Loans Arena in the 2016 Mid-American Conference Men’s Basketball Tournament presented by VisitMyrtleBeach.com.
It was the second straight tourney upset for BGSU, which knocked off No. 5 Kent State Monday. That was just the third time in MAC tournament history that a 12-seed advanced from first round play. The Falcons (16-17) will now face Akron at 6:30 p.m ET Friday in a semifinal contest pitting the No. 1 and No. 12 seeds against each other. Akron escaped an upset bid by Eastern Michigan in Thursday's opening game, 65-63.
Lillard, a native of Cleveland, added . . .
Central Michigan (17-15) dropped its second straight game after winning three straight and four of the previous five outings.
Senior Chris Fowler led CMU with 16 points and recorded four rebounds, six assists and a steal, while Brayson Rayson added 13.
The Chippewas held the lead for a majority of the opening 20 minutes, building as much as a seven point lead, 16-9, at the 9:54 mark on a three by Luke Meyer, who finished the game with seven points.
CMU’s lead fluctuated between four and six points with the advantage being six at intermission 31-25.
After play resumed, BGSU closed the deficit to a single point on two occasions. The last was 36-35 on a layup by Wiggins at the 16:32 mark.
Central Michigan’s largest lead in the second half was eight points at 49-41 on a pair by Braylon Rayson free throws.
Lillard hit a three from the right arc to again close the deficit to one at 56-55 with 1:37 remaining. Simons replied with a layup for CMU and Lillard scored on a tip-in. A Simmons free throw with with 23 ticks leff gave Central its final points and a 59-57 edge.
BGSU inbound the ball and after a couple of passes, Lillard came wide open from the top of the circle. His three-pointer hit all net to give the Falcons their first lead since the opening moments of the contest.
On CMU’s final possession, Austin Stewart turned the ball over into the hands of junior Terance Ali who was fouled. He calmly made both ends of a one-and one free throw which provided the final margin.