"The first half was the best defensive half we've had in years," said head coach Rob Senderoff. "And you have to play well defensively to do that and we did."
Both squads were trading buckets to start the first half of play, but when the game was squared up at 14 with 7:18 to go, Kent State went on an 11-0 run to forge a 25-14 lead. When Bowling Green responded . . .
Jimmy Hall was a dominating presence in the first half for the Flashes dropping 13 of Kent State's first 21 points. Hall totaled a double-double with 13 points, while also pulling down 10 boards. Khaliq Spicer also contributed on the defense end, grabbing five rebounds and blocking two shots in the first half.
KSU held Bowling Green to just 20 percent (6-30) from the floor and 10 percenet (1-10) from behind the arc prior to intermission.
Kent State outscored the Falcons in the paint, 22-6, and took advantage of ten offensive rebounds for ten second chance points. KSU owned an 11-point 30-19 lead at halftime.
Bowling Green was quick to respond out of the intermission, going on a 9-0 run to cut the Golden Flashes lead down to four points. It was a game of mini runs midway through the second half. The Falcons then scored five consecutive points on a three from Wes Alcegaire and a lay-in by Demajeo Wiggins to bring the game to within a point.
At 5:52 the game was knotted up at 51 apiece and the Flashes went on an 8-1 run for the next 4:55, with six points coming from Jimmy Hall to make the score 59-52. The Falcons promptly went on a 6-2 run of their own, getting baskets from Spencer Parker and Antwon Lillard to make it a 61-58 game.
Kent State fouled Ismail Ali with four seconds to go and made the first free throw. After an intentional miss on the second toss, Khaliq Spicer came down with the rebound.
Spicer was quickly fouled and made one of two free throws to give Kent State a three-point lead with three seconds remaining. Galal Cancer tied up Zack Denny in the corner, and did not allow a shot.
Bowling Green improved on their first half shooting to score 58 percent (15-26) in the second half. Kent State held the Falcons second leading scorer, Zack Denny who was averaging 15.2 point per game, scoreless on seven shots. Bowling Green did not have a lead in the second half.
The Falcons were led offensively by Spencer Parker and Wes Alcegaire who each dropped 14 points. Antwon Lillard and Demajeo Wiggins scored eight and seven respectively.
The Golden Flashes were paced by Hall's 26 point performance, shooting 11-25 from the floor, and Xavier Pollard with 12 points on 4-9 shooting with two field goals from behind the arc.
Kent State finished with a 44-38 edge in the rebounding department, and had 19 offensive boards, compared to 11 for the Falcons. Kent State also led in points in the paint (36-22), points off turnovers (11-8) and used their offensive rebounds for 21-4 advantage on second chance points.
NEXT: Kent State hosts Eastern Michigan Tuesday (7 p.m. ET). Bowling Green is at Western Michigan Tuesday (7 p.m. ET).
(Courtesy of KSU Athletics)