Bowling Green takes control late, downs Norfolk State, 86-77

norfolk stateNorfolk State seized momentum early in the second half, but Bowling Green took it right back to defeat the Spartan men’s basketball team by a score of 86-77 on Friday afternoon at the Stroh Center.

NSU, playing its last non-conference game of the regular season, trailed most of the first half but began the second on fire. The Spartans pulled ahead by as much as seven in the second period before BGSU used a 16-3 run to take the lead for good.

Norfolk State (3-11) fell despite strong second halves from senior Jonathan Wade and junior Zaynah Robinson. Wade scored 17 after the intermission and finished with a game-high 23 on 8-of-13 shooting. Not to be outdone, Robinson tallied 22 for the afternoon, hitting 5-of-11 from the field with six assists. He scored all but three of those 22 points in the second half while shooting 4-of-6 from 3-point range and 8-of-9 from the free throw line for the game.

The Spartans scored 17 more points in the second half than the first, although Bowling Green reached half a hundred in the second stanza and had 14 more points than the first half.

No other player reached double figures for NSU in the game, with junior Kyle Williams next up in the scoring column with eight.

Four different players did so for the Falcons, with Wes Alcegaire leading all BGSU players with 17. The Falcons improved to 6-7 on the season after shooting better than 52 percent from the floor, including 65 percent in the second half, and 8-of-15 from 3-point range. They also outscored NSU from the free throw line thanks to 19 more attempts.

Both teams got off to strong starts, with Williams sinking a pair of 3-pointers for NSU in the early part of the game. Alcegaire had two of his own before the first media break as BGSU led early on. Neither team scored for several minutes, but eventually the Falcons went ahead 22-17 on a pair of free throws from Demajeo Wiggins and a jumper inside the 3-point arc from Dylan Frye at the 8:05 mark.

A short time later, the Falcons took their largest lead of the first half, 27-20, after Antwon Lillard made a tough reverse layup and Rasheed Worrell made 1-of-2 from the line with five minutes to go before the intermission. NSU twice got to within two, the first on a short little jumper from junior Alex Brown and the second on a pair of free throws from Wade. He then drained a 3-pointer from the top of the key to get the Spartans to within one with more than a minute remaining, but the Falcons got a couple of buckets late to earn a 36-30 advantage going into the half.

BGSU held the lead despite shooting 40 percent compared to 45.5 percent for the Spartans. The Falcons got to the foul line a few more times, hitting 12-of-17 before the half.

The Spartans got going early in the second period, with Wade converting a couple of buckets in the first minute of play. Robinson made a 3-pointer, and Williams and junior Micah Goss each scored down low to put the Spartans ahead 44-42 with 16:40 on the clock. The lead extended to six after Robinson sank another trey and Wade made a tough layup in the lane to make it 49-43.

Bowling Green then fell behind 52-45 after three free throws from Robinson before a couple of 3-pointers helped the Falcons eventually get to within one. All-in-all, they cut the NSU lead to one on five different occasions until Frye made two free throws at the 8:27 mark to put BGSU back in the lead. Rodrick Caldwell’s 3-point play a minute and a half later extended the advantage, as the Falcons eventually closed a 16-3 run that lasted five and a half minutes to go up by 10. NSU sophomore Alex Long ended the run with a bank shot with three minutes left in the game.

Robinson hit a 3-pointer from the left wing and Wade made 1-of-2 from the line to get the Spartans to within six at 78-72. But with two minutes left, Justin Turner made both of his shots from the free throw line, and Matt Fox nailed a back-breaking trey from the right wing just 17 seconds later to seal the victory.

For the game, BGSU shot 25-of-48, compared to a 27-of-57 effort for NSU (47.4 percent). The Spartans made it a draw at the 3-point line by hitting 8-of-17.

The big difference came at the charity stripe, where the Falcons made 28-of-40. NSU, on the other hand, was 15-of-21.

Wiggins posted a double-double of 15 points and 11 rebounds, helping the Falcons end the day ahead 34-29 on the glass, including +8 in the second half. Wiggins made 9-of-10 from the free throw line. Caldwell (13) and Turner (10) joined him in double figures. A total of 38 of Bowling Green’s 86 points on the afternoon came from its bench. NSU only got 11 points from its non-starting five.

Junior Jordan Butler added seven points and six rebounds. Long scored six, and junior Stavian Allen added five points and a team-leading seven rebounds.

NSU begins MEAC play on Wednesday when the Spartans travel to Morgan State for a 7 p.m. contest.

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