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BG out-foxes Marist, 61-58

Sometimes, winning can be harder on a team than losing. Coming off their most emotional victory in recent memory against Michigan, the Bowling Green basketball team looked like they were running on fumes this weekend, surviving Marist 61-58 at Anderson Arena Saturday.

How ugly can a team win? Ugly enough to lead 27-19 at the half. Ugly enough to shoot 35.5 percent from the field in the first half, and still top Marist’s 34.6 percent.

It lacked aesthetic appeal, but a win is a win. Given the fact that Marist throttled BG in New York last year, coach Dan Dakich will take it.

“I wasn’t so sure we we’d be able to have a lead in the first half,” he said. “Coming in here with the crowd we had the other day, the Michigan letdown, the whole deal. I’m not so sure we would have won this game a year ago, in fact I’m sure we’d have lost it.”

Dakich spoke highly of Marist’s level of experience and their ability to play as a team. He even called Marist the best team the Falcons would face this year, the sum being greater than the parts.

The brunt of BG’s burden fell on the shoulders of center Len Matela, who carried the team in the second half, scoring 11 of his game-high 21 points. He also shouldered nearly all of the rebounding, grabbing a game-high 17 boards, which tied his career high. Keith McLeod’s six boards were the second-most for BG.

“I thought Lenny was good, I thought he rebounded, I thought he tried hard,” Dakich said. “Marist doesn’t have a big, strong guy in there, but they have tough guys.”

Matela played 38 minutes, including all 20 in the second half, and it was starting to show at the end of the game, when he did most of his scoring from the free-throw line. Matela spent most of the game working on Marist centers Jeff Tullis and Jared Hunsaker, holding them to four and six points respectively.

“I did get a little winded at the end,” Matela said. “I was trying to run up and down the floor, trying to rebound, trying to do everything. We were trying not to let each other down.”

In addition to Matela, Brandon Pardon scored 11 points on 4-for-8 shooting, including 3-for-5 from beyond the three-point arc.

McLeod scored 16 points in 33 minutes. He surpassed Jay Laranaga to move into 18th place on the school all-time scoring list with 1,254.

For Marist, forward Nick Eppehimer led with 15 points on 3-for-9 shooting. He also led the Red Foxes with eight rebounds. Guard Sean Kennedy, who fouled out with ten seconds to play, scored 10 points and had a team-high six assists.

The win improved BG to 5-1 on the year. They didn’t get their fifth win last season until Jan. 3.

Suspension

Prior to the game, sophomore center Kevin Netter was suspended indefinitely by Dakich for not attending class. Dakich said he does not know when he will reinstate Netter.

“Kevin screwed up, and I’m not sure when I’m going to let him come back,” he said. “He’s going to have to show the team he’s going to do what they’re doing, which is go to class.”

The absence of Netter will place more work on the team’s other big men.

“We were short (Saturday) compared to what we needed,” Dakich said. “That’s his fault, and that hurts the team.”

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