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Falcons end regular season on a high note, defeat Ball State on senior night, 80-70

BGSU Seniors lined up with their Jerseys on Senior Night.

The Bowling Green men’s basketball team (19-12, 9-8 MAC) closed out the first regular season of the Todd Simon era with an 80-70 victory against Ball State (15-16, 7-11 MAC) on senior night at the Stroh Center on Friday.  

“We’re playing better basketball; it felt like on Sunday, we came in and saw guys kind of back to life, guys kind of moving better,” Simon said postgame. “All of a sudden, I think everyone’s kind of getting clear at the right time, and we’re starting to see our energy and shot-making all kind of come back because of that. We played with a lot of confidence, and we have to go carry that over to Cleveland.” 

With the win, the Falcons reached 10 conference victories for the first time since the 2020-2021 season, closed the regular season with a win for the first time since they defeated Buffalo to conclude the 2012-2013 campaign, swept the season series against Ball State for the first time since the 2019-2020 season and secured the fifth seed in the Mid-American Conference (MAC) Tournament next week.  

“It’s been a very resilient group that has stuck together. Every time there have been trials and tribulations, they just go harder and get closer and united,” Simon said. “So, to be 19-12, with 13 home wins and 10-8 in conference after some lean years is a big deal, it’s a significant deal. We’re not done yet; we’d love to continue to rise these ranks and power some more wins out.” 

FIRST HALF  

Bowling Green scored the game’s first four points, while Ball State missed their first five shots from the field to start the contest. The Falcons held a 7-4 advantage at the first media timeout.   

After the Cardinals tied the game at seven points apiece with a three-pointer, the Falcons went on a 5-0 run, taking a 12-7 lead after six minutes of action.   

However, Ball State responded with a 6-0 run, taking a one-point lead, 13-12.   

After an extended period of back-and-forth action, BG jumped out to a five-point lead with just under six-and-a-half minutes remaining in the half, 25-20   

The Orange and Brown closed the first half on a 7-0 run, heading to the locker room with a nine-point lead, 35-26.   

Bowling Green had an efficient and effective first half on offense, shooting 53.6% (15-28) from the field and 40% (4-10) on three-pointers.    

Meanwhile, Ball State struggled in the first 20 minutes of the contest, shooting just 35.5% (11-31) from the field and 18.2% (2-11) on three-pointers.   

Although BG committed seven turnovers and six personal fouls compared to Ball State’s three giveaways and two fouls, the Falcons outrebounded the Cardinals 21-12 in the first half.

SECOND HALF  

Although both teams started slow out of the locker rooms, BGSU went on a 5-0 run, extending their lead to 40-29 with 17-and-a-half minutes remaining.  

However, the Cardinals kept battling, holding BG scoreless for over three minutes and going on a 5-0 run of their own, cutting BGSU’s lead to just six points with 12 minutes remaining, 48-42.  

While the Falcons extended their lead back to double digits, Ball State went on a 7-0 run, cutting BG’s lead down to just three points with six minutes remaining, 56-53.  

Although BSU cut Bowling Green’s lead down to just one point, BG exploded with an 8-0 run that spanned just 45 seconds, extending their lead to 68-59 with just under four minutes remaining.  

Much of the remainder of the contest involved fouls and free throws, and while Ball State battled the entire contest, the Falcons stayed a step ahead, securing the 10-point victory.  

REVIEW OF THE GAME  

The Falcons controlled almost the entire contest, leading for over 36 minutes and trailing for just over a minute. 

“Our message is more about just keep digging. Don’t worry about the light at the end of the tunnel; just keep digging,” Simon said. “Don’t worry about 40 minutes, don’t worry about 20 minutes; let’s just play, and next play mentality.” 

Although BG has struggled shooting the ball recently, Bowling Green’s offense was efficient and effective all night long, shooting 46.7% (28-60) from the field, 40.9% (9-22) on three-pointers and 83.3% (15-18) on free throws.  

“You go through stretches in games where you don’t score the best, and you just trust that the work you’ve put in every day works,” senior center Jason Spurgin said postgame. “Your teammates having confidence in you, still throwing you the ball to make shots and shoot the ball, and keep talking to you the whole time…things like that just gives us great confidence and trust that the ball will eventually go in the hoop.” 

On the other side, Ball State shot 44.4% (24-54) from the field, 26.3% (5-19) from beyond the arc and 73.9% (17-23) from the charity stripe.  

While the Falcons committed five more personal fouls than the Cardinals, BG outrebounded BSU 35-32.  

Bowling Green’s bench also outscored Ball State’s 23 to 10. 

“You’ve got that depth kind of back in action. We haven’t been in foul trouble in a while. Tonight, we felt it, but because of the depth, it didn’t impact us a ton,” Simon said. “When you’re getting that production, it just changes us completely.” 

Junior guard Marcus Hill led the Orange and Brown with 24 points, five assists and five steals. Hill pushed his season total to 639 points, moving past Tommy Harris for the fifth-most points scored in a single season in program history.  

Spurgin tallied 15 points, finishing just four points shy of 1,000 career collegiate points.  

Senior forward Rashaun Agee finished with six points and six rebounds. Although his streak of four consecutive double-doubles ended, Agee finished the season with 303 rebounds, passing Rex Leach for the 10th-most boards in a single season in program history.  

Senior forward Sam Towns and senior guard DaJion Humphrey rounded out BGSU’s double-digit scorers, finishing with 11 and 10 points, respectively. 

NEXT UP  

The Orange and Brown will battle Central Michigan for the third time this season on Thursday in the first round of the MAC Tournament in Cleveland, Ohio.  

The matchup between the Falcons and Chippewas at Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse will start 30 minutes after the conclusion of the day’s first game, which is scheduled for 11 a.m. Falcon Media Sports Network will have the call of the game on Falcon Radio. 

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

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Tyler Kavalecz, Sports Production Director

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