In a battle to get out of last place in the Mid-American Conference East, the Miami RedHawks (10-15, 6-8 MAC) scrapped their way out of the basement and snapped a five-game losing streak by beating Bowling Green, 55-52 Sunday afternoon.
Bowling Green (11-16, 5-9 MAC) guard Anthony Henderson hit the first two shots of the game, both 3-point shots. The RedHawks responded immediately going on a 9-0 run and forcing five turnovers in the process. BG was able to recover by getting the score to 25-24, but the RedHawks remained on top with a run of 10-1 in closing out the half with a lead of 35-25.
In the second half, BG played catch-up. Miami was ahead by one field goal almost the entirety of the half. In the final five minutes of the game, BG's Richaun Holmes registered his third block of the game and kept a crucial two-point attempt from finding the net. With less than three minuets left in regulation, Miami's defense forced BG to shoot and miss their final 3-point attempt. As the clock dwindled down, Miami held their lead by getting fouled three times.
"I thought (the Falcons) would go inside in the second half and it would be a war of wills," said John Cooper, Miami's head coach in the post-game press conference. "If we were going to be able to defend them, we would have the opportunity to win."
As the game went on, the Falcon defense picked up the slack. It held Miami to five field goals in the final 20 minuets of the game. The RedHawks were forced earn their points at the stripe where they shot 55 percent (11-for-22).
"We were competitive, and that was the key," said Cooper. "Typically we make our free throws, and we were still able to find a way to be successful."
Cooper said he was proud of the way his players conducted themselves on the court, but saw room for improvement.
"I thought Willie (Moore) was better and more comfortable on the court," said Cooper. "One thing I want him to do is cut down on his careless turnovers. One of his tendencies is to hold on to the ball for too long and try and make a great play. Making the easy play will help him cut down on his turn overs."
Miami committed 12 turnovers and BG turned the ball over 13 times. The Falcons shot 36 percent (4-for-11) from the free-throw line, and 15 percent (2-for-13) from 3-point land.
In each of the Falcons' last five games the outcome has come down to the final seconds of the contest. During this time they have gone 1-4.
Despite the loss, the Falcons had one shed of positive light. Holmes registered his 74th block of the season midway through the second half, surpassing the BGSU single-season record of 73 blocks he set last season.
Miami replaces BG in fifth place as BG goes to the sixth and last place of the MAC East standings.