Losing back-to-back homes games last week had many fans wondering if the overachieving Bowling Green Falcons had hit a wall. Now, after back-to-back road victories, the Falcons once again are in sole possession of first place in the Mid-American Conference east division.
On Saturday afternoon, Bowling Green earned a hard-fought win, 62-57 over the Miami RedHawks in Oxford, Ohio. The victory, coupled with Buffalo's win over Kent State on Saturday, gives the Falcons a one game lead with just two regular season contests left. The Falcons are now 11-5 in the MAC and 19-8 on the year. The RedHawks had their four-game winning streak snapped and now stand at 7-9 and 12-17 on the season.
The nineteen overall wins and 11 conference wins are the most in both categories by a Bowling Green team since the 2008-09 season. The Falcons have won five straight road games and are now 9-4 in games away from the Stroh Center this season.
The game was a seesaw affair in the first half as the game featured eight ties and six lead changes in the first 20 minutes of play. The Falcons went on a 6-2 run at the end of the half to take a 31-27 lead into the locker room. Richuan Holmes led the Falcons with 11 points at the break.
The second half started off terrible for Bowling Green. Miami went on a 14-0 run thanks to the Falcons missing their first six shots of the second half and turning the ball over five times. The RedHawks held a 41-31 lead with 10:56 to go in the game.
Miami would push their lead to 46-35 with just 8:08 to play after five straight points from guard Eric Washington. After Falcon head coach Chris Jans called a timeout, Zach Denny hit what may have been the biggest shot of the night when he nailed a 3-pointer from the top of the key.
The Denny basket seemed to get the Falcons offense going as they went on a 15-3 run of their own that was capped by another Denny 3-pointer. Bowling Green suddenly had the lead at 50-49 with 3:51 to go. Miami would take the lead back briefly before Denny hit his third 3-point shot to give the Falcons the lead for good at 53-51 with just 2:04 left to play.
Miami would still not roll over easily and it took big free throws by Denny, Anthony Henderson and Spencer Parker in the final minutes for the Falcons to seal the victory. The game was basically won at the free throw line as Bowling Green made 19-23 charity tosses, good for 83 percent. Meanwhile the RedHawks managed just 8 of 11 from the charity stripe.
Denny would lead the Falcons with 17 points, while Holmes would finish with 15 points and eight rebounds. Holmes has now scored in double figures in 16 straight games. As a team, the Falcons would shoot 20 of 48 (42%) from the field, but continued to struggle from behind the arc, going just 3 of 17 for 18 percent.
The RedHawks were led in scoring by Washington with 16, and Willie Moore added 11. Miami wasn't much better from 3-point, going 3 of 15 for just 20 percent. The RedHawks held a slight edge on the boards, 31-28.
The Falcons return home on Tuesday night to take on Kent State, in what will be a battle for first place in the MAC east. The Golden Flashes sit just a game back of the Falcons. Bowling Green will end the season at Buffalo next Saturday, which could also be a game with the division title on the line. Buffalo also sits just a game behind the Falcons after today's games.
Meanwhile, Miami will play at home against Akron on Tuesday and then travel to Ohio next Saturday to end the regular season.
|Points||E. Washington (16)||Z. Denny (17)|
|Rebounds||W. Sullivan (6||R. Holmes (8)|
|Assists||E. Washington (6)||D. Joseph (2)|
|Blocks||C. Bryant (1)||R. Holmes (1)|
|Steals||E. Washington (2)||J. Clarke (2)|