Late in game Monday against Robert Morris, Bowling Green missed four free throws in the span of a minute. Robert Morris made four in a minute's time, and opened a lead that held to the finish of what had previously been a close game.
The Colonials defeated Bowling Green, 71-60, at the Sewall Center Monday night in a game that was part of the NIT Season Tip-off.
Robert Morris (2-3) rode out Bowling Green's hot 3-point shooting in the first half. When the Falcons (1-3) cooled off, the Colonials capitalized, especially at the free-throw line. Robert Morris made 11 of 14 second-half free-throw attempts and hit 16 of 20 in the game.
"You always got to go to the line to make free throws to try to extend the game," said Velton Jones, who led the Colonials with 16 points and made 9 of 10 free throws. "That's what I tried to do, just make free throws and help our team get a win."
Mike McFadden and Coron Williams each scored 12.
Jones made four free throws in the span of a minute in the second half, opening a 63-55 lead with 4:17 left in the game. Falcons forwards Craig Sealey and Cameron Black each missed two around that time.
"I think it just gives us a little bit of cushion," Colonials coach Andy Toole said. "Obviously the more cushion you have, then you can start to shrink the game, which we try to do with about two and a half minutes to go in the game, try to make as few possessions as humanly possible. ... It was important because it made it a two-, three-, four-possession game and I felt once we got to that we could really shrink it and manage it properly."
A series of three-point plays had kept Bowling Green's lead at five, but 3-pointers from Velton Jones and Karvel Anderson put Robert Morris on top, 56-49, with 7:53 remaining.
Bowling Green made 5 of 9 3-pointers in the first half.
"I just thought in the first half there were a couple of opportunities where we were just a little slow," Toole said. "We were there, but we weren't as urgent as we needed to be, so our close-outs weren't as effective as they should be."
That improved in the second half, and the Falcons made only 3 of their 12 3-point attempts.
"We just had to tighten it up and stay with the same form that we had," McFadden said. "We made little adjustments and things started working for the better."
The score remained close midway through the first half, but Falcons guard Jehvon Clarke hit two 3-pointers in a two-minute span to give Bowling Green a 21-15 lead with 7:48 left in the half. James Erger hit a 3-pointer after a timeout to extend Bowling Green's lead to nine.
A 10-2 Robert Morris run cut Bowling Green's lead to 26-25 with 2:56 remaining in the half. McFadden and Velton Jones each scored four points during the run. The score was tied, 29-29, at the end of the first half.
The Colonials finish the NIT Season Tip-Off at 7:30 p.m. today against Cleveland State.
Bill Brink: firstname.lastname@example.org and Twitter @BrinkPG.