Men's basketball falls to Bowling Green 78-77

Bulls lose a close regular-season game in ‘rematch’ of MAC championship


UB has struggled in close games this season. 

Friday's contest against Bowling Green proved no different. 

The men’s basketball team (14-8) fell to conference leader Bowling Green (17-5) during strong performances from Falcon junior Justin Turner and senior Dylan Frye. The Bulls couldn’t contain them as they combined for 40 points, shooting for a combined 44% from the field.

UB got off to a strong start in the first half, shooting 46% from the field and 43% from the three-point range. Sophomore forward Jeenathan Williams and junior guard Jayvon Graves were both getting to the hoop with ease in the first half, scoring 10 and 8 points, respectively. The Bulls were doing more than just playing offense in the first half, too. They showcased their interior defense, racking up 8 blocks as a team early on.

Thomas Atehortua | The Spectrum

 Junior guard Jayvon Graves dribbles past a Bowling Green defender.

Coming off the bench, sophomore forward Josh Mballa wreaked havoc on the inside, scoring 11 points and grabbing 10 rebounds in the first half alone. UB lived up to its transition-offense reputation throughout the first by scoring 12 points in transition. Sophomore guard Ronaldo Segu capped off the first half with a three as time expired, which put the Bulls up 11.

Unfortunately for the Bulls, the second half didn’t bring the same results as the first. UB turned the ball over multiple times throughout the first four minutes of the half, giving up the lead they worked so hard to earn. 

“The only thing I'm disappointed with is the first four minutes of the second half,” head coach Jim Whitesell said after the game. “We didn’t come out there with the ball movement or the defensive intensity.”

A lack of defensive intensity in the second allowed Bowling Green’s Justin Turner to score 15 points in the second half alone. 

“Turner’s second half just was outstanding,” Whitesell said. “There's a reason he’s an excellent player, he makes some big time baskets.”

UB shot 29% from the free-throw line in the second half, another key part of the loss. 

The game was a tale of two halves with the Bulls looking like a completely different team in the second. The score swung back and forth between the two teams within the last 10 minutes of the half, having the raucous crowd of 5,332 on the edge of their seats.

Bowling Green shot well from the free-throw line through the entirety of the fourth quarter, something the Bulls couldn’t replicate. 

With seven seconds left, Bowling Green fouled Graves, who only made one of two free throws. UB got the ball back with a play drawn up for the junior, who slipped and couldn’t get a clean shot off at the buzzer.

“We’ve got to keep working, I think we can get a lot better,” Whitesell said. “I see a lot of positive things with our team and we’re just gonna keep working at it.”

“We’re right there, we’re knocking on the door. We have to keep improving.”

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Anthony Decicco

Anthony Decicco is the senior sports editor for The Spectrum.