NORFOLK, Va. – In the blink of an eye, the Norfolk State men’s basketball team found itself down by 20 early in the game. Then the Spartans nearly pulled off the improbable on Saturday evening at Joseph Echols Hall. Trailing by as much as 23 in the first half and 15 at the break, NSU tied the score on a big run early in the second half only to watch Bowling Green surge ahead for the rest of the game in a 92-77 win over the Spartans.
Norfolk State outscored the Falcons 31-8 between the end of the first half and the beginning of the second. The Spartans, however, could not gain the lead after tying the score, and BGSU pulled away at the end. Junior Alex Long led the way for the Spartans with a career-high 22 points on 10-of-13 shooting, as NSU got all but four points from its starting five.
Bowling Green (7-2) got a 28-point effort from Dylan Frye on 9-of-13 shooting, including 5-of-7 from 3-point range. The Falcons knocked down 14-of-25 from deep for the game and nearly 51 percent overall. The Spartans (0-8) made 51 percent in the second half, scoring 15 more points after the break than they scored in the first half.
The hot start for the Falcons proved to be the ultimate difference in the game. They hit their first five 3-pointers of the game to build a commanding 23-3 lead five and a half minutes into the contest. The Spartans scored eight of the next 11 points, but Bowling Green scored seven in a row to push the advantage to 22, 33-11, with 6:57 left.
The Falcons went up by as much as 23 before NSU closed the half on an 11-3 run, capped by a 3-pointer by sophomore Steven Whitley with time running down, to make it a 46-31 game at the break. Halftime did nothing to slow down the momentum. The Spartans, who never led in the game, began the second half on a 20-5 run to tie it up at 51-51. Senior Kyle Williams had 11 points during that time, including a trio of 3-pointers, to get the Spartans back in the game.
Justin Turner hit a trey to put the Falcons back ahead, and Matt Fox drained a pair from beyond the arc during a 10-2 run that made it 66-57 in favor of the Falcons with 11 minutes still left in the contest. Whitley made a pair from the line about two and a half minutes later to slice the deficit to five, but BGSU scored the next eight and led by double digits the rest of the way.
Senior Preston Bungei shot 6-of-11 from the floor for an 18-point night, tallying a career-high eight assists with seven rebounds, two blocks and two steals while playing all 40 minutes. Whitley added 13 points, six assists and a career-high four steals, and Williams finished with 11 points, five rebounds and three assists.
On the other side, Demajeo Wiggins added 18 points on 8-of-10 shooting with seven rebounds, while Fox (18) and Turner (16) also scored in double figures. Turner and Fox combined to go 8-of-13 from deep. The Falcons made 30-of-59 overall (50.8 percent), compared to 30-of-65 for the Spartans. Norfolk State did connect on a respectable 8-of-23 from 3-point range. Bowling Green also benefitted from an 18-of-21 night from the foul line – 16-of-18 in the second half – while NSU was just 9-of-12. The Falcons also held a 38-26 advantage on the glass.