BOWLING GREEN - The Bowling Green State University men's basketball team fell to Northern Illinois University, 69-52, Saturday afternoon at the Stroh Center. Bowling Green was held to 39.2 percent (25-of-59) shooting for the game, while NIU outscored the Falcons by 11 points in the second half after taking a 31-25 lead into the halftime break.
With the loss, Bowling Green falls to 7-10 overall, and 1-3 in Mid-American Conference play. NIU, after losing its MAC opener at Miami, has now won three-straight games to improve to 11-6 (3-1 MAC).
For the second time this week, the Falcons played back-and-forth basketball in the first half, and were in striking distance at the half. Bowling Green trailed by just six points after 20 minutes, before coming out of the locker room with effective three-point shooting.
After an NIU bucket, freshman Dylan Frye and senior Zack Denny hit triples on back-to-back possessions to trim the Huskies' lead to 33-31 with 18:45 left in the game.
The Huskies scored the next two baskets, but senior Ismail Ali countered with a layup, and then sophomore Demajeo Wiggins threw down a dunk to get BG within two points yet again at 39-37 with 15:01 left in regulation.
However, Northern Illinois held Bowling Green scoreless for the next 7:40, as the Huskies went on a 17-0 run to take a 56-39 lead. The Falcons never got the game within 10 points after that, and Northern Illinois cruised to the victory.
Ali was the standout for the Orange and Brown. The senior went 7-for-11 from the floor to finish with a game-high 16 points. He also added six assists while committing just two turnovers, and registered three rebounds, two steals and one block. He played a team-high 36 minutes.
Freshman Dylan Frye was the only other Falcon in double digits, as he posted a conference career-high 13 points on 5-of-8 shooting. He made three of his four attempts from downtown, and also had two rebounds and one assist.
Frye has now increased his scoring in each MAC game. He scored two points at Akron, five points at Ball State, and eight points versus Eastern Michigan before dropping 13 points this afternoon.
Denny finished with seven points and 11 rebounds, while Wiggins scored five points. Sophomore Rasheed Worrell posted four points and three rebounds. Junior Matt Fox had three points and two rebounds.
The Orange and Brown will now shift its attention to a Battle of I-75 showdown with Toledo on Tuesday (Jan. 17) evening. The game, which will take place at UT's Savage Arena, is set to tip at 7 p.m. The Falcons will conclude the week with a home game versus Ball State on Jan. 21.