The win was the first national postseason tournament victory for the Falcons since defeating Tennessee in the National Commissioner's Invitational (NCI) back in 1975. The win also snapped a 10-game postseason losing streak for the Falcons.
"I'm happy for the program in general. I'm happy for the fans that have been loyal BGSU fans and that have followed the men's basketball team specifically for so many decades," head coach Chris Jans said. "I don't care what postseason it is, it's postseason. I thought it was crucial and important for us to end that drought."
BGSU, who played without both Richaun Holmes and Delvin Dickerson due to injuries, had 10 different players log six minutes or more in the contest. Eight of those 10 Falcons' scored at least three points.
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rebounds, while Josh Gomez added a career-high 10 points and seven rebounds in only his second career start.
Led by Jovan Austin's five assists, the Falcons registered 15 assists on 25 made baskets.
The Red Flash of Saint Francis had a trio of players in double figures, led by Malik Harmon's 18 points. Earl Brown finished with 16 points, eight rebounds and two blocks, while Greg Brown chipped in with 13 points and four assists.
"We just talked about having all hands on deck -- that we were going to play more guys than usual and try to keep fresh bodies in there as much as possible,” Jans said. “Some guys that hadn't played a lot of minutes earlier in the season had a couple of runs, especially in the first half, and we felt like we needed to do that to make up for being two guys down,"
He continue, "It was fun to see our team close the game out. We've been in a lot of close games all year long. You know, we've won a few, but we've lost our share, as well. It was coming down to the wire again, and I just liked the way they finished it. They got a couple key loose balls. They made a couple key free throws. But it was good to see our guys close the game out."
The Falcons got off to a slow start out as SFU pounded the offensive glass early and used the three-point line to take a 9-2 lead on an offensive rebound and layup by Brown at the 16:46 mark of the first half.
After a layup off the block from Clarke and a second three-ball from the Flash put the home team in front by eight at 12-4, the Falcons finally awakened as back-to-back treys from Henderson and Austin from the right wing jump-started a 17-3 run by the visitors and BGSU flew out to a six-point lead at 21-15 on another three-pointer from Henderson with 8:21 left to play in the opening period.
Following an SFU timeout, however, the Flash answered with an 8-2 surge to tie the game, 23-23, at the 5:09 mark on another offensive rebound and put-back basket.
The two teams traded scores and the lead for the rest of the half until an offensive rebound and three-pointer from SFU's Brown with 10 seconds left in the period pushed the Flash out in front by three, 33-30, at the halftime break.
After seven offensive rebounds for the Flash in the first half, the Falcons clamped down in the second half to hold the home team to just four offensive rebounds in the final 20 minutes of play.
BGSU opened up the second stanza with a 15-foot jumper from Gomez to get to within one at 33-32. That started a trend in which the two teams went back-and-forth until a three-ball from Harmon pushed the Flash's lead out to five at 41-36 with 15:41 to go in the game.
Following back-to-back layups from Spencer Parker and Austin, and a driving layup from SFU, redshirt-freshman forward Garrett Mayleben drained a three-pointer to tie the game up for a fourth time, this time at 43-43, at the 13:52 mark.
Two more ties and five lead changes later, the Flash got a fast break dunk by Brown to give the home team a 59-57 lead with 5:15 left on the game clock.
The Falcons tied the game up once more on a layup down low from Parker, then saw two free throws from Henderson give the Orange and Brown a 61-59 lead with 4:17 to go in regulation.
Two minutes later, free throws from David Joseph gave BGSU back the lead at 63-62, a lead that the visitors would not relinquish for the rest of the game.
The final two minutes saw BGSU come up big on the defensive end with five straight stops. Offensively, the Falcons got a layup from Gomez on the right block by way of an assist from Joseph, who then followed with two straight free throws with 8.9 seconds to help seal the 67-64 win.
The close contest saw 13 lead changes and eight ties, BGSU shot 41 percent (25-of-61) overall, 40 percent (8-of-20) from behind the three-point line and 90 percent (9-of-10) from the charity stripe. The Flash shot 41.9 percent (26-of-62) from the floor, but were just 7-of-26 (26.9 percent) from long range.
BGSU's bench outscored Saint Francis' bench 19-2 for the contest. The Falcons lso held a 16-14 edge in second chance points and an 11-7 advantage in points off turnovers.
The Flash did outscored the Falcons 36-28 on points in the paint and 6-4 in fast break points.
Bowling Green (21-11) will next play in the second round of the 2015 CIT tournament on either Friday or Saturday. The opponent, date and time has yet to be determined.
(Courtesy of BGSU Athletics/MRO Edit)