Bowling Green, which has won three straight contests, improves to 9-3 overall and 1-0 in the MAC with the win. The loss drops Kent State to 9-5 overall and 0-1 in league play.
Richaun Holmes, who carried the Falcons in the first half, totaled a team-high 20 points, five rebounds and three blocks, while Parker chipped in 16 points, including 12 in the final five minutes of play, on 6-of-11 shooting in the game. Anthony Henderson, Zack Denny and Jehvon Clarke each added seven points apiece, while Jovan Austin dished out six assists in the win.
Kent State's Jimmy Hall scored a game-high 35 points on 10-of-15 shooting from the floor overall, while Devareaux Manley poured in 13 points. Chris Ortiz grabbed a game-high 10 rebounds to go with his eight points in the loss.
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“I think the two plays to end the half to get it to nine were confidence builders," Jans continued. "Obviously we played with a little more energy (in the second half). That usually happens with the team that is down. They try to fight a little harder. I was glad to see that. We played some zone and it was effective for a while and it changed the momentum of the game.”
The game started as expected as the two teams traded both baskets and the lead for most of the first half. Kent State got back-to-back baskets from Kris Brewer and Hall to tie the score up at 18-18 with 6:52 to go in the opening half. Those two buckets jump-started an 18-0 run by the home team as the Golden Flashes raced out to a 14-point lead at 32-18 on a layup by Ortiz with 2:47 to go in the opening period.
After Kent State pushed the lead out to 15 at 35-20 on a three-pointer from Ortiz at the 1:31 mark, the Falcons answered back with six straight points topped off by a fast break layup from David Joseph as the first half expired to put the score at 35-26 in favor of Kent State.
Parker opened up the second half with a reverse layup, and the Falcons chipped away at the Kent State lead over the next seven minutes of play to get to within one point at 40-39 on a thunderous two-handed slam in transition from Holmes with 13:24 to go in regulation.
Following a rebound and put-back basket from Holmes to give the Falcons back the lead, the two teams traded baskets and the lead again for the next several possessions. A12-2 run by the Golden Flashes allowed the home team to pull out to an eight point lead at 54-46 with just over eight minutes to play.
Down just five at 57-52 with 6:13 to play after back-to-back three-balls from Clarke and Holmes, Parker took over the game on the offensive end as the BGSU defense clamped down on the Kent State offense.
Parker would run off 12 straight points for the Falcons over the next four minutes of play, highlighted by a three-pointer from the right wing that put the Orange and Brown in front by four at 64-60 with only 46 seconds in the contest.
Strong defense and rebounding over the final minute, as well as two free throws from Clarke, sealed the MAC road win for BGSU.
The Falcons, who shot 15-of-30 (50 percent) in the second half, hit 24-of-56 (42.9 percent) from the floor overall for the game. Kent State was 24-of-54 (44.4 percent) from the field overall.
Bowling Green was 8-of-15 (53.3 percent) from behind the three-point line and 10-of-11 (90.9 percent) from the charity stripe in the win.
BGSU outscored the Golden Flashes 26-24 in points in the paint, 16-9 in points off turnovers, 9-4 in second chance points, 10-6 in fast break points and 14-6 in bench points for the game.
"I think we just wanted it a little bit more than they did. They came out and punched us in the mouth, really, Parker said. “We took a couple of shots, we took some body shots, and I think we recovered very well.”
Bowling Green (9-3, 1-0 MAC) will return home this Saturday afternoon, Jan. 10, to host the Ohio Bobcats at 4 p.m. in the Stroh Center. Kent State travels to Northern Illinois Saturday (8 p.m. ET).
(Courtesy BGSU Athletics/MRO Edit)