Falcons keep hopes for bye alive by defeating Kent State

Reporter and Reporter

After coming up just short at Kent State a month ago with a 60-point second-half rally, BG took vengeance on the Golden Flashes in the second go-around.

Scott Thomas surged the offense with 15 points in the first half before A’uston Calhoun and Torian Oglesby came alive in the second half as the Falcons soared to a 74-58 Mid-American Conference win Saturday at the Stroh Center.

“It was really a great team effort and I thought we finished strong,” said coach Louis Orr.

Thomas (21), Calhoun (17) and Oglesby (15) combined for 53 points.

Guard Carlton Guyton paced the Flashes with 17 points while center Justin Greene — who leads the team at 13.6 points per game — had 16.

Greene’s success was not indicative of the Falcons’ blue-collar work ethic defending the interior. Cameron Black posted three of seven BG blocks which facilitated 40-34 scoring advantage in the paint.

After a fleeting spurt early when Kent went up 12-7 with 16:02 left, BG took hold of the reins and used a tight zone defense to force 16 turnovers and convert them into 19 points.

Twelve of Thomas’ points in the first period came from behind the arc, where he was 6-of-10 from on the night, as the Falcons took a 38-32 edge into the locker rooms.

“Michael Porrini was on me and I felt like I was able to shoot over him with the height difference,” Thomas said. “I was able to come off a few screens and shoot over top of him.”

The Flashes buttressed the turnovers by shooting 11-of-20 (55 percent) to stay within six.

Kent State would get as close as three points in the second half before getting outscored 23-10 over the final 12:32.

Ten second-half turnovers notwithstanding, BG’s unwavering dominion out of the half-court set allowed it to hold serve the entire 20 minutes.

“You’re either going to play it on their terms or your terms,” Orr said. “If our zone is active we have the chance of kind of slowing teams down … this [game] was more on our terms.”

Calhoun shot 7-of-10 for 14 points and Oglesby was 5-of-5 for 11 to juice a 61.5 percent effort from the field by the Falcons after the break.

“It’s always good to have multiple options on the offensive end,” Calhoun said. “My team wanted to keep me incorporated in the offense (in the second half) … They said they wanted to come straight to me on the first play and they did that several times throughout the second half. And if they’re going to come to me I have to respond.”

Six of Oglesby’s points during the second-period surge came on alley-oop or put-back dunks which kept the crowd on its feet and had the Flashes wearing countenances of resignation.

After a transition layup by Guyton from Randal Holt, Kent was kept scoreless the final 5:26 of the game.

The loss was Kent’s third straight and put BG within a game of the Flashes for fourth place in the MAC and a first-round bye in the tournament.