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February 22, 2024

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Falcons ride second half run for win

After Zack Denny made three shots in a row from deep, early in the second half the Falcons went up by nine, with 12:55 to play.

Then the Falcons offense went cold, they weren’t able to get any open shots. Their lone field goal in that five minute period was a shifty drive through the defense by guard Jehvon Clarke.

When Delvin Dickerson stepped to the top of the key the Falcons’ luck changed. He shot a three that bounced high off the back of the rim, he gave a shoulder lean as if he was willing it in and it fell through the net.

“It felt like it hung forever. Believe it or not I was like it’s going to go in,” said head coach Chris Jans. “That was a big basket. They had retaken the lead … if we don’t make that basket and they come down and score, that becomes a tough time for us.”

That three gave the Falcons a 40-39 lead and sparked a 16-2 run, that carried them to their 56-46 win, their 13th of the season, surpassing their total from a season ago.

“I felt after that shot everybody’s intensity picked up,” Dickerson said. “We got locked more into playing defense and coming back and being patient on offense.”

If one player embodied the atmosphere of the game it was Dickerson. He did more than spark the 16-2 run, he took a school record four charges as well.

“We talk about the two threes he made, but more importantly he took four charges. He tried to take five and got a block,” Jans said. “Those are game changers, they are like dunks. It energizes the bench, it energizes the crowd, and it usually dictates a shift in momentum.”

The first half was an ugly one for both teams, as neither team shot above 40 percent from the field or 14 percent from deep.

Late in the first half Richaun Holmes threw down a fast break dunk that woke up the Stroh Center and then Anthony Henderson followed with a jumper before the halftime buzzer went off to give the Falcons a 21-20 lead.

The Falcons kept that momentum early in the second half leading 35-26, then things went south for a bit. It was three minutes until the Falcons scored again and another two minutes until the Dickerson three turned things around.

“We’ve done that a few times this year, where we are down at half and we usually have come out and played well in the second half,” Jans said. “It’s not about adjustments, it’s about those guys staying the course and just understanding it’s a long game. I like that character this team has shown this far.”

Last Saturday night the Falcons weren’t able to get the momentum they needed to turn the game around late. Against the Huskies the mix of threes, defensive stops and Dickerson charges helped the Falcons grind out their fifth Mid-American Conference win of the season.

“You just have to give it all for your teammates,” Dickerson said. “You know that your team has you and you know that you are in the right spot at the right time. You just have to take one for the team.”

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