The Bowling Green State University Falcons acquired double-doubles from Richaun Holmes and Jehvon Clarke, as well as a career-high 23 points from Spencer Parker, to erase a double digit deficit and defeat the Buffalo Bulls 74-68 on Sunday afternoon in the Stroh Center.
Bowling Green improves to 10-11 overall and 4-4 in the MAC with the victory, while Buffalo falls to 11-7 overall and 5-3 in league play with the loss.
BGSU's Clarke posted his first career double-double with 11 points and a career-high 10 rebounds and was just one assist shy of a triple-double with nine assists. With his nine helpers, which matched his career-high, Clarke eclipsed the 100 assists mark for the season.
Holmes recorded his fourth double-double of the season with 16 points and 10 rebounds, while also adding five blocks, while Parker poured in a career-high 23 points, as he was 10-of-14 from the free throw line in 39 minutes of play.
Bowling Green had a huge lift off the bench, particularly in the second half, as starters Anthony Henderson and Cameron Black each were sidelined for most of the final 20 minutes of play with foul trouble. Josh Gomez and JD Tisdale both logged over 20 minutes of action, contributing with nine points, six rebounds, three steals and a block during their time on the court.
Buffalo was led by Javon McCrea's double-double of 14 points and 11 rebounds, while Will Regan and Joshua Freelove both had the hot-hand from downtown, combining for 33 points on seven three-point baskets.
In what was a tight contest from start to finish that increased in both intensity and tension as the clock ticked down, BGSU tied the score up six times over the final 20 minutes of play and took its first lead of the contest since the opening minutes of the game at 49-47 on a layup from Parker with 13:13 to go in the game.
The next five minutes saw only one tie, as the Falcons tied the game up once more at 53-53, yet the Bulls continued to remain out in front with a slight lead until back-to-back three-pointers from the left corner from Freelove pushed the visitors out in front by seven at 65-58 with just 6:54 to go in regulation.
The Falcons then used the free throw line to get back into the contest, as Clarke and Parker knocked down four straight shots from the charity stripe, while Holmes added a spinning layup from the right block to put the home team down just two at 66-64 with 3:06 to play.
The next two possessions proved critical in the outcome of the contest, as Buffalo's McCrea was whistled for a traveling violation on the offensive end and then called for his fifth and final foul on the defensive end on the ensuing BGSU possession which did not sit well with the Buffalo bench.
Buffalo's head coach Bobby Hurley was called for a technical foul which gave the Falcons four free throw attempts and the chance to take the lead down just two at 66-64.
The Falcons' Parker calmly stepped up to the line and hit both of the technical free throws to tie the score up at 66-66, while Holmes converted on 1-of-2 from the line on the foul call to put BGSU up one at 67-66.
However, on the second missed free throw by Holmes, Parker grabbed the offensive rebound and was able to keep the ball on the Falcons' offensive end where Holmes would again be found on the same possession. He capped off the offensive series with back-to-back free throws to make it a five-point possession for the Falcons to put the home team up three at 69-66 with 2:16 remaining on the game clock.
Bowling Green continued its offensive surge with a free throw from Clarke and a fast break layup from Parker to cap the 11-0 run and extend its lead to six at 72-66 with less than 30 seconds to go in the contest.
BGSU got two more defensive stops and hit 2-of-4 free throws in the final seconds of the game to secure the 74-68 come from behind win over the Bulls.
The Falcons held Buffalo to only 10 made field goals in the second half, (10-of-32, 31.3 percent), and outscored the Bulls 38-24 in points in the paint and 17-11 in second chance points.
Bowling Green opened up the game with two straight buckets from inside the paint to take a 4-0 lead less than a minute into the contest.
The Bulls then got two straight three-pointers from Regan to jump-start a 13-2 run for the visitors who stormed out to a 13-6 lead on a free throw from McCrea with 14:20 to go in the first half.
Following back-to-back baskets from Holmes and Gomez to cut the Bulls' lead to three at 13-10, BGSU got to within two points on a Holmes free throw only to again see the visitors in blue use a scoring rush to pull out to a 23-13 lead on a three-pointer from Lovelace with 10:49 to go before the halftime break.
Fouls begin to mount up for the Falcons, as the Bulls drained four free throws over the next three minutes before another three-pointer from Lovelace put the score at 32-23 with just under six minutes to go in the half.
BGSU held the Bulls to only four points over the final four minutes of the first half and used timely free throw shooting from Henderson and Parker, as well as a three-pointer from Henderson and a buzzer beating fast break finger roll from Clarke, to end the half out on a 9-4 run and cut the Buffalo lead to two at 37-35 at the halftime break.
The Bulls were 6-of-13 (46.2 percent) from behind the three-point line in the first half, but only 2-of-13 (15.4 percent) from long distance in the second half, as the Falcons clamped down on the defensive end.
BGSU out-rebounded the Bulls 42-37 overall and tallied 16 assists to only 12 turnovers for the game.
With the 74 points, the Falcons improve to 15-0 all-time in the Stroh Center when scoring 70 points or more.
Bowling Green (10-11, 4-4 MAC) will return to the hardwood on Wednesday, Feb. 5, as the Falcons will travel north to take on Toledo at 7 p.m. at the Savage Arena in Toledo, Ohio.