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Flashes stomp Falcons

KENT, Ohio – Every team seems to have one opponent they just can’t beat. The Red Sox have the Yankees. The John Cooper-era Buckeyes had Michigan. The Bowling Green basketball team has Kent State, who dropped them for the fifth consecutive time last night at Kent State’s MAC Center 76-64. BG has not beaten Kent since the 1999-2000 season.

The Golden Flashes jumped out to an early 7-2 lead and never looked back. Paced by Andrew Mitchell’s 12 first-half points, Kent cruised to a 29-22 halftime lead. Mitchell continued to throttle the Falcons, finishing with team-high 26 points, including 3-for-5 three-pointers and 9-for-9 from the free-throw line.

“(Mitchell) shoots the ball very well and he’s fearless,” BG coach Dan Dakich said.

BG spent most of the game on their heels, but were able to mount a couple of comeback attempts and stay in the game. A lay-up by Keith McLeod pulled BG to within eight at 16-8 with just over ten minutes left in the first half. A three-pointer by Cory Ryan pulled BG to within seven at 27-20 with under a minute to play in the half.

“No lead is ever safe, especially against (BG),” Kent coach Stan Heath said. “One thing we thought we did a good job of was just countering. When they made a play, we made a play.”

The inability to mount a sustained rally began to wear on BG and Kent slowly began to pull away in the second half. Kent center Nate Gerwig had his second straight good game against the Falcons finishing with 21 points and nine rebounds. He kept BG’s Len Matela contained all game. By 17:48 of the second half, Matela had picked up his fourth foul. He fouled out later in the half, finishing with eight points and five rebounds.

“When Gerwig gets 21 points to Lenny’s eight, that’s a tough, tough match-up for us,” Dakich said.

McLeod tried to pull BG back by himself, scoring 17 points in the eight minutes as BG drew as close as 41-35 with just over 13 minutes to play.

The Falcons would not get any closer, and Kent’s lead ballooned to 17 at 72-55 with just over three minutes remaining. McLeod finished with a game-high 29 points.

“(McLeod’s) hard to guard,” Heath said. “He moves around so well. There were times we switched around to guard him and it didn?t matter.”

Mitchell made four free throws to close out Kent’s scoring.

“This was the hardest 12-point game we’ve ever been in,” Heath said. “This was a big win for us, for sure. I’m glad we don’t have to play them again in the regular season.”

The win pushed Kent’s conference record to 10-1, and strengthened their grip on first place in the Mid-American Conference’s East Division. BG fell to 16-5, 6-4 in the MAC.

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