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Bowling Green hangs on, beats N. Illinois to make MAC final

CLEVELAND (AP) Dylan Frye scored 25 points, Justin Turner made a big late steal and Bowling Green hung on beat Northern Illinois 71-67 in the semifinals Friday night to advance to its first Mid-American Conference championship in 17 years.

The third-seeded Falcons (22-11) blew a 23-point halftime lead but pulled it together in the final minutes and earned a shot at top-seeded and No. 18 Buffalo in Saturday's title game for an NCAA bid.

Bowling Green was one of just three teams to beat Buffalo this season, handing the Bulls a 92-88 loss on Feb. 1. Buffalo, which is seeking its fourth title in five years, returned the favor on March 8 with an 84-73 win.

Eugene German scored 31 points and the junior fueled a strong comeback by Northern Illinois, which tied it in the second half at 56-all but never took the lead.

After Turner hit a runner in the lane, the sophomore guard swiped a Northern Illinois pass, dribbled down the floor and fed Frye, who dropped a 3-pointer from the corner to give the Falcons a 65-58 lead.

Tayler Bradley's 3-pointer pulled the Huskies within 68-65, but Frye made three free throws in the final 19 seconds to close it out.

Bradley added 16 points for the Huskies (17-17), who have not been to the MAC final since 1982.

Bowling Green did everything right in the first half while opening a 46-23 halftime lead. It appeared the Falcons would coast into the championship, but the lightning quick German and the Huskies had other ideas.

They started making shots, turned up their defensive intensity, and with German scoring on several twisting layups, Northern Illinois closed within 56-51 with 8:31 left.

The Huskies finally caught Bowling Green when center Noah McCarty drilled a 3-pointer from the left side before turning and staring down some fans seated courtside.

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Key Players
E. German
10 G
J. Turner
10 G
32.1 Min. Per Game 32.1
18.3 Pts. Per Game 18.3
3.2 Ast. Per Game 3.2
3.8 Reb. Per Game 3.8
49.0 Field Goal % 47.8
41.4 Three Point % 37.5
68.8 Free Throw % 70.4
  Defensive rebound by Caleb Fields 2.0
  Levi Bradley missed 3-pt. jump shot 4.0
+ 1 Dylan Frye made 2nd of 2 free throws 7.0
  Dylan Frye missed 1st of 2 free throws 7.0
  Personal foul on Trendon Hankerson 7.0
+ 2 Eugene German made driving layup 9.0
+ 1 Dylan Frye made 2nd of 2 free throws 19.0
+ 1 Dylan Frye made 1st of 2 free throws 19.0
  Personal foul on Noah McCarty 19.0
+ 3 Levi Bradley made 3-pt. jump shot, assist by Eugene German 29.0
+ 1 Dylan Frye made 2nd of 2 free throws 43.0
Team Stats
Points 67 71
Field Goals 26-54 (48.1%) 23-53 (43.4%)
3-Pointers 6-24 (25.0%) 8-19 (42.1%)
Free Throws 9-11 (81.8%) 17-26 (65.4%)
Total Rebounds 31 33
Offensive 3 7
Defensive 27 23
Team 1 3
Assists 8 8
Steals 4 4
Blocks 3 2
Turnovers 13 10
Fouls 25 12
Technicals 0 0
31 PTS, 4 REB, 5 AST
25 PTS, 2 REB, 1 AST
12T
away team logo N. Illinois 17-17 234467
home team logo Bowling Green 22-11 462571
Team Stats
away team logo N. Illinois 17-17 73.7 PPG 37.4 RPG 11.0 APG
home team logo Bowling Green 22-11 78.5 PPG 44.4 RPG 12.6 APG
Key Players
10
E. German G 20.4 PPG 5.2 RPG 2.9 APG 49.0 FG%
5
D. Frye G 12.8 PPG 2.4 RPG 2.4 APG 41.2 FG%
Top Scorers
E. German G 31 PTS 4 REB 5 AST
D. Frye G 25 PTS 2 REB 1 AST
48.1 FG% 43.4
25.0 3PT FG% 42.1
81.8 FT% 65.4
Starters PTS REB AST FG 3PT FT PF MIN STL BLK TO OREB DREB
E. German 31 4 5 12/18 2/6 5/7 2 37 2 0 4 1 3
L. Bradley 16 5 0 5/9 2/5 4/4 3 36 0 0 1 0 5
D. Thorpe 5 4 1 2/7 1/4 0/0 4 35 1 0 5 0 4
L. James 2 3 1 1/4 0/2 0/0 4 15 0 0 1 1 2
R. Henry-Hayes 0 5 0 0/2 0/1 0/0 4 26 0 0 0 0 5
Starters PTS REB AST FG 3PT FT PF MIN STL BLK TO OREB DREB
E. German 31 4 5 12/18 2/6 5/7 2 37 2 0 4 1 3
L. Bradley 16 5 0 5/9 2/5 4/4 3 36 0 0 1 0 5
D. Thorpe 5 4 1 2/7 1/4 0/0 4 35 1 0 5 0 4
L. James 2 3 1 1/4 0/2 0/0 4 15 0 0 1 1 2
R. Henry-Hayes 0 5 0 0/2 0/1 0/0 4 26 0 0 0 0 5
Bench PTS REB AST FG 3PT FT PF MIN STL BLK TO OREB DREB
N. McCarty 7 7 1 3/6 1/2 0/0 3 22 0 2 0 1 6
T. Hankerson 4 1 0 2/4 0/2 0/0 2 17 1 0 0 0 1
J. Key 2 0 0 1/2 0/0 0/0 2 8 0 1 2 0 0
G. Daow - - - - - - - - - - - - -
A. Richie 0 1 0 0/2 0/2 0/0 1 4 0 0 0 0 1
Z. Mateen - - - - - - - - - - - - -
B. Danowski - - - - - - - - - - - - -
A. Demogerontas - - - - - - - - - - - - -
C. Oehlberg - - - - - - - - - - - - -
J. Lee - - - - - - - - - - - - -
A. Travis - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Total 67 30 8 26/54 6/24 9/11 25 200 4 3 13 3 27
Starters PTS REB AST FG 3PT FT PF MIN STL BLK TO OREB DREB
D. Frye 25 2 1 7/14 4/8 7/8 2 29 0 0 2 0 2
J. Turner 14 3 2 4/8 1/3 5/6 1 30 1 0 1 0 3
D. Plowden 12 8 0 5/8 2/3 0/0 3 30 0 1 1 3 5
D. Wiggins 8 4 1 3/7 0/0 2/6 0 25 1 0 2 1 3
C. Fields 3 1 0 1/6 1/4 0/0 2 25 0 0 0 0 1
Starters PTS REB AST FG 3PT FT PF MIN STL BLK TO OREB DREB
D. Frye 25 2 1 7/14 4/8 7/8 2 29 0 0 2 0 2
J. Turner 14 3 2 4/8 1/3 5/6 1 30 1 0 1 0 3
D. Plowden 12 8 0 5/8 2/3 0/0 3 30 0 1 1 3 5
D. Wiggins 8 4 1 3/7 0/0 2/6 0 25 1 0 2 1 3
C. Fields 3 1 0 1/6 1/4 0/0 2 25 0 0 0 0 1
Bench PTS REB AST FG 3PT FT PF MIN STL BLK TO OREB DREB
J. Uju 3 4 0 1/2 0/0 1/4 2 16 0 1 0 1 3
A. Lillard 2 2 1 1/3 0/1 0/0 2 15 2 0 1 0 2
M. Laster 2 3 3 0/3 0/0 2/2 0 20 0 0 2 1 2
M. Sierra 2 3 0 1/2 0/0 0/0 0 10 0 0 1 1 2
E. Good - - - - - - - - - - - - -
J. Gadson - - - - - - - - - - - - -
M. Kulackovskis - - - - - - - - - - - - -
D. Austin - - - - - - - - - - - - -
T. Mattos - - - - - - - - - - - - -
A. Gardner - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Total 71 30 8 23/53 8/19 17/26 12 200 4 2 10 7 23