Bowling Green shot 56.5 percent (13-of-23) in the second half of play, including 4-of-10 (40 percent) from the three-point line. The Falcons were also 11-of-12 (91.7 percent) from the free throw line in the second half after going just 3-of-7 (42.9 percent) from the charity stripe in the first 20 minutes of play.
With the Falcons second win over NIU in less than two weeks, BGSU improves to 15-6 overall and 7-3 in league play. The loss drops NIU to 9-12 overall and 3-7 in the MAC.
Senior guard Jehvon Clarke posted 18 points for the second straight game, while fellow senior Richaun Holmes added 18 points, eight rebounds and four blocks in 31 minutes of play. It is the 10th straight game in which Holmes has scored in double figures.
Coming off the bench for the first time this season, Spencer Parker had 16 points and four rebounds in 31 minutes of play.
NIU also had a trio of players in double digits, led by Travon Baker's game-high 20 points. Anthony Johnson chipped in with 11 points, while Aaron Armstead scored 10 points off the bench for the Huskies.
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“We switched defenses and went to a zone, slowed them down a little bit. Spencer Parker got hot and we closed the gap to three points at the half. Came out (in the second half) and kind of established ourselves a little bit, but we couldn't pull away. We knew they would keep coming and in the end, obviously, we were able to withstand and make some free throws."
The Huskies got off to a good start, rushing out to a 10-0 lead on a three-pointer from Darrell Bowie just three minutes into the contest.
After a timeout, the Falcons got a dunk off the right block from Holmes to get on the scoreboard. Still, BGSU failed to slow down the Huskies offense, which ran off seven straight points to take an 18-4 lead with 11:21 to go in the first half.
The Falcons kept pecking at the NIU lead for the next several minutes of play until back-to-back free throws from Zack Denny at the 2:38 mark kick-started an 11-2 rally by the Orange and Brown over the next two minutes. Bowling Green knotted the score at 28-28 on a three-pointer from the top of the key by Denny with 34 seconds left before the halftime break.
The rally was temporarily quieted by the Huskies' Johnson, who drained a trey himself in the closing seconds of the opening half to send the home team into halftime with a 31-28 lead.
The visitors quickly regained their momentum after intermission, scoring eight straight points to start the second half and fly out to a five-point lead at 36-31 with 16:38 to go in the contest.
After a long jump shot from Josh Gomez and back-to-back three-balls from Clarke and Holmes, the Falcons were able to extend their advantage to seven at 44-37 with 12:38 left in regulation.
Four quick points from NIU trimmed the Falcons lead back down to three at 44-41, yet the Falcons behind Clarke. The senior guard went on a 9-0 run all by himself over the next four minutes of play to push BGSU's lead to 12 at 53-41 on two straight free throws at the 8:10 mark.
A free throw from redshirt-senior guard Anthony Henderson just over a minute later pushed the visitors' lead out to a game-high 13 points.
The Huskies were able to use both the free throw line and the three-point arc to climb back into the game and cut the BGSU lead to six at 57-63 with 2:59 to play.
With the game still up for grabs, the Falcons failed to score on their next three offensive possessions while the Huskies got a trey from Armstead and two free throws from Baker to put the score at 63-62 in favor of BGSU with 47 seconds to go in the game.
Out of another BGSU timeout, the Falcons went back to Clarke, who swished in a 14-foot jumper from just inside the free throw line with 19 seconds to play to put the Orange and Brown up three at 65-62.
However, NIU quickly answered on the other end just eight seconds later on a dunk in the lane from Armstead to again put the home team down just one , 65-64.
After an NIU timeout, the Falcons' Henderson was fouled with nine seconds to play on the game clock. Henderson stepped up to the free throw line and sank both foul shots to push the Falcons' lead back out to three at 67-64.
Electing to foul on the ensuing offensive possession to prevent the Huskies from taking a three-pointer to tie the game, BGSU sent Baker to the charity stripe where he made the first one with six seconds to play.
Down two at 67-65, Baker intentionally missed the second one to try to give his team the chance to get the offensive rebound. However, BGSU had other plans as Holmes, who nearly tipped in the free throw miss, grabbed the board and was fouled immediately.
For the second straight game, Holmes calmly hit two straight free throws late in the game for the Falcons. This time the two free throws came with just 1.7 seconds in regulation and gave the Orange and Brown the 69-65 road conference win.
BGSU outscored the Huskies 26-22 in points in the paint, 11-8 in second chance points and 36-16 in bench points for the contest.
The Falcons, who had eight turnovers in the first half, finished the game with 14 turnovers, but also dished out 13 assists on 24 made baskets.
Bowling Green (15-6, 7-3 MAC) will have a quick turnaround, as BGSU hosts Western Michigan on Tuesday (7 p.m. ET). Northern Illinois hosts Ball State Tuesday (8 p.m. ET).
(Courtesy of BGSU Athletics/MRO edit)