Despite the sudden announcement that Dylan Frye would be leaving the program, BGSU men’s basketball won a close matchup and swept Toledo in the latest Battle of I-75, 85-83, thanks to two free throws by Justin Turner with 1.2 seconds left.
In front of a sold out Stroh Center, it was Turner that carried most of the load, especially in the second half. He led the Falcons with 21 points on the night with 15 of those coming in the second half. Many of those points coming via clutch buckets late in the game.
The redshirt junior guard knew that he was going to need to take even more onto his shoulders both in this game and for the rest of the season.
“I think that it makes me have to step up everything times ten, obviously I bring some scoring, some defense to the team, but putting people in the right spots. Getting people the right touches, making sure the right plays are called, and still making sure that we are bringing that same intensity and effort to the defensive side,” Turner said.
In the first half, the Falcons spread the ball around nicely in route to a 43-35 lead as six players scored at least five points. Matiss Kulackovskis led the Falcons in the first half with eight points, including two from beyond the arc. Kuclackovskis scored 12 points in total on the night. BGSU head coach Michael Huger has been impressed by the Lativian project so far this season.
“This is the kid that I saw in high school, before the injuries and everything. He was able to go inside, outside, very skilled, can pass the ball, guard multiple positions and now he’s starting to come around and do the things I’ve seen him do in high school, just at another level,” he said.
But when the second half rolled around, the Falcons went a little cold, starting out the half 1-7 from the field. Even with that Toledo didn’t come on until late, when Luke Knapke and Marreon Jackson hit a multitude of shots to ultimately tie the game at 83.
After Turner made his two free throws to extend the lead for Bowling Green once again, the Rockets had 1.2 seconds for a last-ditch effort. But the full court pass was batted away by Marlon Sierra and the Falcons walked away with a big win to move them to 9-2 inside the MAC conference.
As expected Turner and the Falcons were excited about the win over Toledo, but made it clear that even despite the loss of Frye, the Falcons still have much bigger goals on their minds.
“To be honest at this point in the season, we got one goal so we want to beat everybody, we want to sweep everybody, we’re taking no prisoners. That’s really our mindset now, we have the two-game rivalry out of the way so now we’re on to Akron on Tuesday,” Turner said.
Coach Huger added that while the loss of Frye definitely changes the team’s makeup, he still thinks that this team is on track to accomplish all of the goals that they set out at the beginning of the season.
“It changes the makeup of the team for sure, ceiling of the season though, you don’t know, every game is different, every team is different, every opponent is different. So it’s still one game at a time for us. That doesn’t change, but it’s always a blow when you lose as quality of a player as Dylan Frye,” he said.
As for Frye’s status with the team, Huger stated that the news came as a surprise and when asked if the door was still open for him to come back this season, he responded with “we’ll see”.
The Falcons will now gear up to play an Akron on Tuesday that is 17-6 overall, and 7-3 in the MAC conference. It still remains to be seen how much the loss of Frye will affect this team’s outlook, but at least for tonight, the Falcons were resilient enough to get a win over their rivals.