Daeqwon Plowden scored 26 points in his final game as BGSU men’s basketball fell 74-67 to Akron in the MAC Tournament quarterfinals Thursday night.
The Falcons found themselves in an uphill battle for a majority of the game and began right away as Akron started the game on an 8-0 run, six coming from Loren Cristian Jackson.
The Falcons didn’t ever find their shot in the first half, starting 0-7 from beyond the arc and shooting 31% from three in the first half.
“I know the environment is definitely different than what it normally is and we are used to having fans in here and having the place rocking at this time. The environment was a little bit different and that could be the biggest thing that I attribute to us getting out to a slow start,” BGSU Head Coach Michael Huger said.
A big part of that was the fact that Justin Turner was clearly not 100% in the game as he suffered an injury at the end of the Miami game last Tuesday. Turner recorded just two field goals in the entire game, one in each half.
“He was banged up, he was really banged up. He chose to play tonight, he wanted to fight through it. We were ready to go without him but he wanted to play and I owe him that much for what he has done for Bowling Green basketball,” Huger said.
Trey Diggs and Daeqwon Plowden led the Falcons with seven points each in the first half. Chandler Turner game off the bench to give the Falcons five.
It wasn’t a good first half by any means for the Falcons, but they were able to stay in it thanks to some timely end of the half shots.
Heading into the second half, the Falcons were in clear need of a lift, with the program’s all-time leading scorer clearly hurting. Daeqwon Plowden stepped up big time to give the Falcons the lift they needed to stay in the game.
Plowden hit big shot after big shot, used himself well in the post and just simply attacked the basket with the mindset that Akron couldn’t guard him.
For much of the half, that was the case as Plowden poured in 17 second half points to lead the Falcons with 26.
“He (Plowden) did all he could. Scored the ball well for us, rebounded the ball well for us,” Huger said. “He tried his best, he tried to put us on his back and get us into the next round.”
Cristian Jackson did as he normally does, seemingly scoring as well and it was enough to keep the Zips ahead of the Falcons 57-50 with just over eight minutes left in the contest.
But the Falcons made their run from here.
Chandler Turner was the one who got it going for the Falcons converting on an and-one and then making two more at the line to cut the lead to two. He finished with 12 points and was the only other player that scored in double-figures for the Falcons.
Justin Turner entered the game after a lengthy break and started to contribute to the Falcons by distributing as he made a nice pass in transition to a cutting Trey Diggs to tie the game at 57.
A stop by the Falcons, and a layup from Plowden gave the Falcons their first lead of the game.
Akron’s Enrique Freeman tied the game up after an offensive rebound, but the Falcons responded again as Josiah Fulcher made a tough layup to get back a two point lead.
The momentum seemed to be going in favor of the Falcons, but a 8-2 run from the Zips with three minutes left, capped off by two huge three pointers Jermaine Marshall, a player that had made four threes all season, gave Akron a six point lead.
“We gave ourselves a chance we just made too many little mistakes that cost us the game. They hit a big shot. Marshall hit two big threes that were really unexpected. No one expected him to hit that shot, I don’t even think they expected him to hit that shot. It is what it is, that’s basketball. That is what this time is all about,” Huger said.
The Zips never looked back, closing out the game on a 15-6 run.
The game marks the final game of the careers of Justin Turner, Plowden and Diggs. Turner ends his Bowling Green career with 2,077 points, the all-time leader in program history.
The loss is a disappointing one for a team that was picked to win the conference in the preseason. The Falcons did receive good news however, when Huger squashed rumours that he might be interested in the Fordham coaching job.
“I’m a Falcon man, I’m a Falcon. That’s all said and done. I’m flying high, I got work to do here and that is all that is on my mind. You’ll see me next year,” Huger said.
The Falcons finish with a 14-11 overall record on the season.