The game was not as bad as a 17 point margin, but it wasn't terribly far off either. Warren Central only led once, at 8-7. Bowling Green took the lead for good with a 7-0 run, but the game was back and forth the entire first quarter. In the second quarter, Bowling Green had a decisive run to push the lead over 10 points, and it yo-yo'd between 6-12 points for much of the rest of the game. Bowling Green led by 10 at the half and 9 after three. In the fourth, Central made a final push, getting within six on two occasions, the last at 60-54. Bowling Green responded with a run, and frankly, I think Central threw in the towel, which let the margin swell a bit more than I'd have liked.
The story of the game is that Bowling Green got just about whatever they wanted offensively. Whether that was superior scheming/talent, defensive breakdowns, or a combination of both will be in the eye of the beholder, but stops were few and far between for Central. Bowling Green's 79 points were their highest output of the season, their highest output in the series since a 4OT game in 2011, and their highest output in the series in regulation since December 2001. From those standpoints, it was uncharacteristic. Bowling Green shot 64.4% for the game, and they were 20/25 in the paint.
Bowling Green wasn't flawless - they lost the turnover battle and gave up 13 offensive boards. They didn't press during the game, likely saving that for a future battle. But shooting wise, it's hard to believe they could do any better. The Dragon fan in me hopes that some of this is a result of three games in five days versus a team that had rested for six, an inability to practice specifically for this game, and potentially some lingering hangover from the John Hardin loss. But ultimately, this is why I had Bowling Green #1 for weeks, despite hearing from several that Central was the better team. The Purples are playing very well, and they are striking a very good team balance. Huddleston has been playing well down low, Mason is shooting well, and guys like Buttry and Cooper are giving them very strong options. Those four players combined for 58 yesterday, and only Buttry shot worse than 63%. He made up for it by going 8/10 from the line. We'll find out if the Dragons have made up any ground when they play again in ten days, but I don't see anyone getting in BG's way between now and then.