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February 22, 2024

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Trojans dominate glass, use strong fourth quarter to put away Falcons in MAC/Sun Belt Challenge 88-78

Morgan Sharps (0) putting up a 3-pointer

There is winning the rebounding battle, and then there is owning the rebounding battle.

Call that battle today, for the Troy Trojans, one that they owned, leased, rented, remortgaged- any home ownership term in the book.

The Trojans (13-10 OVR, 9-3 SB) used a strong fourth quarter, as well as a +22 rebounding advantage to pull away and defeat the Bowling Green Falcons (12-10 OVR, 6-5 MAC) 88-78 earlier Saturday afternoon.

“I don’t think any team survives that, regardless of if you shoot the ball well or not,” head coach Fred Chmiel said postgame. “You’re not going to come out on the right side of it when you give up 21 offensive rebounds… just not how you’re going to be successful.”

Coming into the contest, the battle of pace was a big determining factor, as with Troy, they averaged 78 points per game, while giving up an average of 76.8 a a game. Meanwhile for BGSU, they play a bit of a slower pace typically, averaging 66.5 points a night and giving up 69.4 a night.

But Saturday’s game was not one for the average jogger. You needed your sprinting shoes, which did not faze BG.

“I think our team has grown,” said Chmiel. “We handled that pressure and that intensity fairly well. Again, it’s the rebounding portion and it’s something we have to focus and concentrate on.”

The first half was one that featured back and forth trading of buckets, including four of Morgan Sharps’ eight threes in the game, which tied a single-game program record.

But the rebounds.

Oh my goodness the rebounds.

In the first half alone, Troy was able to rack up 16 offensive rebounds, as well as hold a consistent double-digit advantage in the overall rebounding battle.

The second half did not change much, as through 51 total rebounds, 21 total offensive rebounds, and 29 second-chance points, Troy was able to find multiple shot attempts in the vast majority of their possessions throughout the contest.

“They could jump out of the gym,” said Sharps. “I think our issue was pushing them back and creating some space. They were jumping over us and that was just not good enough.”

And yet, BG still gave themselves a chance, as the orange and brown finished with 12 threes, matching a season-high from the opener against Cleveland State.

However, the fourth quarter is where all the separation occurred, as Troy maintained a 28-18 advantage in the quarter, making the difference in the final.

“In the first half, we broke the press really well,  and also in the third and bits of the fourth, but in the fourth, after we broke it, we didn’t take advantage and score off of it,” said Sharps. “We got in our half court and got stagnant at times.”

For the Trojans, while their leading scorer this season, Makayia Hallmon (16 ppg), was held to just eight, it was fellow star Ja’Mia Hollings who did the damage inside, ending with 28 points on 12-15 shooting, while also adding eight rebounds.

Tai’Sheka Porchia and Nia Daniel added 17 and 15 respectively, while Shaulana Wagner ended with a near triple-double of nine points, 12 rebounds and eight assists.

Meanwhile for Bowling Green, Sharps fell two points shy of matching her career-high with 28 on those eight aforementioned threes. Erika Porter added 20 points while Amy Velasco had 18.

BGSU now has a full week to prepare for their next opponent, their rivals from Toledo, who come to the Stroh Center on Saturday, Feb. 17 at 6 p.m. Join Falcon Media Sports Network’s Brandon Loe as he has the call on 88.1 FM WBGU beginning around 5:50.

For more stories related to BGSU Athletics, follow Falcon Media Sports Network on X (@bg_fmsn).

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