Falcons play well, fall short at Kent

For the ninth time this season, the BG men’s basketball played a game in which the contest was decided by one point. Unfortunately for the Falcons, Kent State handed them their third loss in those situations by beating the Falcons 62-61.

“If I was a player that would have been a really fun game to compete in,” said BG coach Dan Dakich. “I thought both teams played hard – both teams were really tough.”

Kent State used the three point ball to their advantage with seven minutes to go in the first half. The Golden Flashes converted five three point goals in the first half, including two by Armon Gates, who along with Omni Smith, came off the bench for KSU.

“Armon and Omni gave us a spark when they came in after the guys who started gave us a lot of energy,” said Kent State coach Jim Christian. Christian went on to win his 99th career game as Kent head coach.

The Falcons rallied back after Martin Samarco scored five of his game-high 26 points to key a 7-0 run to get the Falcons within one at 30-29 with 41 seconds to go in the first half.

KSU’s Isaac Knight converted a dunk with seven seconds to go in the half to give the Flashes a three point halftime lead at 32-29.

“It was a physical game – a tough game,” Dakich said. “To be honest with you, it was a man’s game. You weren’t going to come in there as a kid and do well.”

The second half was a see-saw affair with neither team securing more than a seven point lead. BG’s only lead came after a Nate Miller jumper to give the Falcons a 52-51 advantage.

Kent State came right back and scored the next eight points to give the Flashes a 59-52 advantage with 3:52 to go in the game. The run was keyed by two Armon Gates’ three pointers. Gates finished with 13 points by going 4-5 on three point attempts.

The Falcons clawed their way back to being down by only one after Ryne Hamblet was fouled shooting a three pointer and made all three attempts and Martin Samarco came down and nailed a three to pull the Falcons within at 59-58.

Omni Smith converted two free throws after being fouled by Brian Guerin on his way to the basket. This gave the Falcons the ball back with 44 seconds to go in the game down by three points.

The Flashes came up with one of their biggest defensive stands of the season forcing a turnover beyond the three point line by Martin Samarco with eleven seconds to go.

“I was trying to get a shot off,” Samarco said. “I didn’t expect them to double team after I got ball screened. I picked up my dribble and they forced a turnover. I was trying to get it to Ryne Hamblet in the corner for a three.”

Gates converted 1 of 2 free throws to give the Flashes a 4 point advantage at 62-58. Nate Miller came right back and drained a three to pull the Falcons back within in one.

KSU proceeded to throw the ball away but Dusan Radivojevic’s full court pass with .05 seconds was knocked away.

Nate Miller finished the game with 20 points with 14 coming in the second half and a game high 14 rebounds.

“Nate is going to compete,” Dakich said. “Here’s a kid who sat out a year and a half, paid his own way to go to school here, and he has not missed a beat.”

The Falcons will return home this Wednesday as they take on the Broncos of Western Michigan University at 7 p.m.