Bowling Green improves to 8-11, and 2-4 in Mid-American Conference play with the win. Ball State, which entered play today on a three-game losing streak, falls to 12-7 (3-3 MAC) with the defeat.
With 2:00 to go . . .
Ali missed a jumper with 1:11 to go, but sophomore Antwon Lillard pulled down the rebound, and kicked it back out to an open Matt Fox at the three-point line. The junior nailed a triple with 1:07 on the clock to give Bowling Green a 73-68 lead.
Bowling Green appeared to be in control after senior Zack Denny gave the Falcons a 75-69 lead with 20 seconds remaining with two free throws, but Kiapway hit a three-pointer just five seconds later to trim the BGSU lead to three points, 75-72.
Denny again answered with a pair of free throws to inch BGSU's lead up to five points with 11 seconds to go. However, BSU's Tayler Persons made it 77-74 with two free throws, and then the Falcons turned the ball over off the inbounds pass. With nine seconds remaining, Ball State had a chance to tie the ballgame.
For the second time in crunch time, Fox came up huge. He stole the inbounds pass, and dished it off to Ali, who scored an and-one layup. Ali's basket gave BGSU a 79-74 lead with five seconds left. He missed the free throw, but time ran out on Ball State.
The Falcons stormed out to a 30-15 lead before taking a 44-34 lead at the half. Bowling Green shot 14-for-30 (46.7 percent) in the opening half, while holding Ball State to 34.4 percent (11-for-32). Ball State trimmed BGSU's lead to a single possession several times in the second half, but the Falcons never surrendered the lead.
For the game, the Falcons shot 41.0 percent (25-for-61) from the field, 37.5 percent (6-for-16) from three-point land, and 65.7 percent (23-for-35) from the charity stripe.
Ball State shot 39.3 percent (22-for-56) from the floor, 32.0 percent (8-for-25) from downtown, and 68.8 percent (22-for-32) from the line. Both teams had 15 turnovers, while Bowling Green won the rebounding battle, 45-37.
Demajeo Wiggins posted a double-double for the second-consecutive game, as he had 14 points and a career-high 14 rebounds, and shot 6-for-9 from the field. Wiggins has five double-doubles on the season. Denny led BG in scoring with 17. He went 7-for-8 from the free throw line and 2-for-3 from deep. Ali finished with 13 points, five rebounds, two steals and two assists. Senior Wes Alcegaire also ended the game in double figures. He scored 10 points with one rebound.
Fox had eight points, four rebounds and two steals. Lillard had six points, four rebounds, including three offensive rebounds, and two assists. Sophomore Rasheed Worrell was extremely active, and in 11 minutes, had five points and five rebounds. He also knocked down his first three-pointer on the season.
Four Ball State players reached double figures: Tayler Persons (16), Ryan Weber (16), Francis Kiapway (11) and Trey Moses (10).
Bowling Green will head to Mount Pleasant, Michigan Tuesday to take on Central Michigan at McGuirk Arena. Tip is slated for 7 p.m.
Ball State will be at Eastern Michigan (Tuesday, 9 p.m. ET).