GRAND FORKS, N.D. - The Bowling Green men's basketball team overcame an 11-point first half deficit to take a late lead Friday night, but North Dakota scored the final five points of the game to defeat the Falcons 56-53.
Richaun Holmes capped off a terrific second half by rebounding a missed jumper by teammate A'uston Calhoun and scoring a tough basket inside, while being fouled, with one minute remaining. Holmes' free-throws gave the Falcons a 53-51 lead, the first time the team had been ahead since early in the game.
North Dakota, though, answered by getting an offensive rebound on its next possession and throwing it out for a Jamal Webb three-pointer with 43 seconds left to put UND back on top. Bowling Green came up empty on its final three possessions, including an attempted three-pointer with nine seconds left and North Dakota escaped with the win.
After playing just two minutes in the first half with foul trouble, Holmes had eight points and four blocks in the final eight minutes, finishing with a career-best six blocks on the evening. Jordon Crawford had a game-high 14 points, 12 in the second half, and Calhoun finished with 12 points and eight rebounds.
Bowling Green scored the first four points of the contest but North Dakota answered with a 13-3 run and eventually took an 11-point lead at 23-12. An Anthony Henderson three-pointer started a 9-0 run for the Falcons and North Dakota took a six-point lead into the break at 29-23.
North Dakota led by as many as nine points in the second half, getting a Jordan Allard lay-up with 15:52 to play for a 40-31 lead. Henderson again sparked a 9-0 run with a three-pointer and Bowling Green tied the game with a Crawford lay-up with 9:43 to go.
The two teams traded baskets until an Allard free-throw with 3:52 left put UND ahead 51-47. Crawford knocked down a three-pointer with 2:44 to go before Holmes' three-point play with one minute left gave the Falcons the lead.
North Dakota shot just 37.5 percent from the field and Bowling Green made 41.7 percent of its shots. But UND held a 42-25 rebounding edge, including 17 offensive boards. The Falcons also made only 8-of-15 free-throws. BGSU did force 17 North Dakota turnovers, garnering 10 steals, but the Falcons committed 13 turnovers.
North Dakota improves to 3-8 with the win and Bowling Green falls to 5-7. The Falcons will quickly return to action, playing at Temple Monday at 7 p.m. The Owls enter the contest with a record of 9-2 overall and are coming off of a victory over then-unbeaten Syracuse. Temple is receiving votes in each of the major top 25 polls.