Bowling Green State University head coach Louis Orr recorded both his 100th career win at BGSU and his 200th career win overall as a head coach on Saturday evening, as the Falcons used defense down the stretch to hold on for a 66-64 road win at Ball State in Muncie, Ind.
The win, which marks the third straight game in which the outcome came down to the final possession, pushes Bowling Green to 11-14 overall and 5-7 in the MAC, while the loss drops Ball State to 4-19 overall and 1-11 in league play.
BGSU overcame 10 Ball State three-pointers by shooting 43.8 percent (28-of-64) from the floor overall and outscored the Cardinals 36-26 in points in the paint, 18-8 in points off turnovers and 19-11 in second chance points.
Spencer Parker led all scorers with a game-high 22 points, while Richaun Holmes registered his sixth double-double of the season with 17 points and 11 rebounds. Holmes also posted two blocks to increase his season total to 71 on the year, putting him only two shy of last year's Falcon single season record of 73.
Guard Jehvon Clarke chipped in with 11 points and seven assists, while senior Cameron Black hauled in 12 boards to go along with eight points and two blocked shots in 35 minutes of play.
Ball State's Jesse Berry led the charge for the Cardinals, as he totaled 20 points on 6-of-9 shooting from behind the three-point line. Starters Franko House and Chris Bond each finished with 13 points, while Majok Majok pulled in a game-high 15 rebounds in the loss.
Bowling Green, who led for most of the contest, saw two straight layups from Majok and House over a three minute span give the Cardinals its first lead of the game at 48-47 at the 11 minute mark of the second half.
The scoring drought, which reached four minutes, continued for the Falcons as Ball State pushed its lead to five at 52-47, before an old-fashion three-point play from Black ended the lull for the orange and brown and put the Falcons down two at 52-50 with just over eight minutes to play.
The Falcons cut the Ball State lead to one at 55-54 on a rebound and put back dunk from Holmes and then once more at 57-56 on a layup from Holmes at the four minute mark, yet Ball State answered each basket with points of its own to stay out in front as time ticked down in regulation.
Down 59-56 with just over three minutes to go, Holmes hit a three-pointer from the left wing to tie the game up at 59-59.
After Parker hit a contested layup 30 seconds later to put the Falcons in front by two at 61-59, Ball State's Bond answered with a driving layup of his own to tie the score up at 61-61.
With a chance to retake the lead, Ball State's Bond missed on the free throw attempt to complete the three-point play.
Just over a minute later, the Cardinals' Zavier Turner hit the 10th three-pointer of the game for the home team to give the Cardinals back the lead at 64-61 with 1:20 to play.
On the next offensive BGSU possession, Parker was fouled on a steal attempt and went to the free throw line where he made both shots of a 1-and-1 to put the Falcons down just one at 64-63 with 1:01 left in regulation.
The defense stepped up for the Falcons late, as a Ball State turnover led to a go-ahead layup from Anthony Henderson with 44 seconds to play, putting the score at 65-64.
Ball State missed a free throw on the next possession, the front end of a 1-and-1, and Holmes grabbed the rebound and was immediately fouled.
With 21 seconds remaining Holmes missed the front end of his 1-and-1 to give the Cardinals life. However, on the ensuing play, Turner drove down the left side of the lane where he had his shot blocked by Holmes and brought in by the 6-8 forward who again was immediately fouled.
Holmes would hit the first free throw to make it 66-64, but would miss the second.
With six seconds remaining the Cardinals dribbled the ball down to the free throw line extended, but saw its last second effort shot not get off in time as the Falcons defense held on for the 66-64 road win.
For the second straight game, the Falcons flew out to an early lead, as BGSU took an 8-0 lead three minutes into the game on baskets from Black, Parker and Holmes to force an early Ball State timeout.
Bowling Green's Clarke would connect on a three-pointer from the top of the key to push the visitors lead to nine at 13-4 at the 14:54 mark, yet it would be the Cardinals who would use the three-ball effectively in the opening 20 minutes, as Berry hit one of three straight Ball State three-pointers to put the home team in white down two at 15-13 with 13:15 to go in the opening half of play.
Back-to-back buckets from Parker, followed by two layups from Clarke, jump-started a 9-3 run for the Falcons who took a 10 point lead at 26-16 on a jump hook in the paint from Holmes at the 9:46 mark.
The next four baskets for the Cardinals would all be from long range, as Ball State cut the Falcons lead to four at 32-28 on another Berry three-pointer with just over five minutes to play before the break.
Ball State used a 4-0 run late in the half to cut the BGSU lead back to two at 34-32, however, an offensive rebound and tip-in from Henderson late in the half gave the Falcons a 36-32 halftime lead.
BGSU held Ball State to 39 percent shooting overall (23-of-59) and forced the Cardinals into 16 turnovers.
The Falcons had 12 assists and only 10 turnovers in the win.
Bowling Green (11-14, 5-7 MAC) will return home to host the Rockets of Toledo on Thursday night, Feb. 20, at 9 p.m. ET in the Stroh Center. The game is scheduled to be televised live on ESPNU.