Norfolk State men's hoops beats Bowling Green 90-84, off to 5-0 start

NCAA Norfolk St Gonzaga Basketball
Posted at 12:20 AM, Nov 20, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-20 00:20:41-05

BOWLING GREEN, Ohio ( – Norfolk State used a 15-0 second-half run and a balanced scoring attack throughout to top Bowling Green 90-84 on Friday evening at the Stroh Center, improving the Spartans’ record to 5-0.

Tyrese Jenkins led five Spartans in double figures with 17 points and Kris Bankston added 15 points and nine rebounds for NSU, which is off to its best start since the 1985-86 season. Joe Bryant Jr. added 16 points, Jalen Hawkins 13 and Christian Ings 12.

Trailing 43-37 early in the second half, NSU took the lead for good with that 15-0 spurt. Bankston hit two buckets inside, Jenkins sank a pair of 3-pointers and Bryant hit one. When Bryant capped the run with two free throws, the Spartans led 52-43 with 15:11 remaining.

Thanks to a precision Spartan offense which shot 50 percent for the night – 60 in the decisive second half – the host Falcons (1-3) could not catch up. An Ings three-point play pushed the lead into double digits at 62-50, and Hawkins scored to increase the advantage to 13 a short time later.

The Falcons closed to within 68-63, but Bankston scored on a layup and a dunk on consecutive possessions. Another bucket by Hawkins pushed the lead back to double figures at 74-63 with 5:36 remaining.

Jenkins’ fifth and final triple of the night gave NSU its largest lead at 85-70 with 2:28 remaining. BGSU got no closer than five after that, but the Spartans hit 5-of-6 from the charity stripe in the closing 30 seconds to finish off the win.

There were four lead-changes in the first half. Neither team led by more than six in the opening 20 minutes. The Falcons hit 11-of-14 from the line – including a 7-of-8 effort from Daeqwon Plowden – to take a slim 39-37 lead into halftime.

But NSU’s efficiency on offense and tough defense proved to be the difference. The Spartans committed just nine turnovers on the night and hit 56 percent (9-of-16) from long distance, including a sizzling 5-of-6 performance from Jenkins. At the other end, NSU held the Falcons to just 38 percent shooting, 30 (12-of-40) from behind the arc.

“I’m so proud of these young men,” NSU head coach Robert Jones said. “To go get a tough road win against a MAC opponent is incredible. The 5-0 start is history-making for the program, but we still have a long way to go.”

Ings added five assists with no turnovers in 38 minutes of play. Hawkins and Bryant both had five rebounds and a pair of steals, and Cahiem Brown grabbed six boards.

Myron Gordon led Bowling Green with 19 points.

The Spartans face another stiff road test Sunday, as they remain in Ohio to face Xavier at noon.