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September 19, 2023

Comeback bid falls short in Toledo


Jehvon Clarke dribbles the ball past a University of Buffalo defender in their match Feb., 2. The Falcons will host Akron Feb. 9 at 6 p.m.

The Bowling Green State University Falcons were called for 24 fouls in their 83-76 loss to the University of Toledo Rockets.

The Rockets capitalized from the Falcons foul trouble by going 29-35 from the free throw line while only allowing the Falcons to shoot eight of their own.

“The difference were the free throws,” Head basketball coach Louis Orr said. “We did a lot of good things on the offensive end once we got things going.”

Falcon guards Jehvon Clarke and Anthony Henderson led the team in scoring with 23 points and seven rebounds each.

The Falcons started slow in the first half as the Rockets got an 11-0 lead just five minutes into the game.

Soon after that, Clarke made a jumper to put the Falcons on the board, and senior Cameron Black followed with a hook shot to cut the score to 11-4.

Not only were the Rockets dominating the game early on, but junior Richaun Holmes picked up two quick fouls and had to take an early seat for the Falcons.

“[Holmes] is our shot blocker,” Clarke said. “Once he got out, it put us in a hole defensively.”

Things got worse before they got better for the Falcons though, as they soon found themselves down 26-10 just 10 minutes into the game.

Things slowly improved for the Falcons, and by the seven minute mark, they cut the lead to 12 points.

Although the Rockets led at halftime, 41-32 the Falcons battled their way back from a 16 point deficit.

“We have to have that self will to fight through perseverance,” Clarke said. “I think our self-will and perseverance is what got us back in this game.”

The Falcons battled their way back into the game as they cut the lead to two points with 15:21 left. They brought the Rockets’ lead to three points or less six times in the second half, and every time the Rockets answered with a score on their end.

“Anytime you start off sluggish first few minutes of the game you exert a lot of energy,” Clarke said. “Down the stretch of the game it is kind of tough to make the plays you want to make due to the exerting so much energy.”

The turning point in the game came when the Falcons were down 60-58 with 9:18 left. The Falcons forced a missed jumper by the Rockets guard Jonathan Williams, but allowed the Rockets to get the rebound. Center Nathan Boothe was fouled on the put back. They allowed two more offensive rebounds and that eventually to a three point shot by Justin Drummond to take their lead to six points

“We were in pretty good shape when we cut it to one,” Clarke said. “It came down to a stop or a rebound that we need but somehow we didn’t get it.”

What could have been a crucial stop for the Falcons with a two point deficit turned into three offensive rebounds for the Rockets and a six point lead.

After that possession, the Falcons could not make the big play to get the lead. The Rockets were in the bonus for the rest of the second half and were able to knock down their free throws to hold on to the lead and win 83-76.

“When you play Toledo you can’t play tag with them,” Orr said. “I was pleased and happy with our guys’ effort and the way they came back to cut it to one.”

The Rockets will come to the Stroh on Feb. 20 to finish their season series.

“I’ve said this before it’s not another game to you, it’s not another game to our institutions it’s not another game our community,” said Toledo head basketball coach Tod Kowalczyk. “People look at this game as special and so do we.”

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