RedHawks can't catch hot-shooting Falcons
By MIKE SMITH
BOWLING GREEN, OH -- A career performance by Leon Ayers III and the Falcons big night at the free throw line combined to help Bowling Green hand the Miami RedHawks an 83-73 defeat Saturday at the Stroh Center.
It was the third straight loss for MU, which fell to 1-5 in MAC play (7-12 overall). Bowling Green, meanwhile, broke a three-game losing streak and raised its MAC record to 3-3 (9-10 overall).
Ayers led the way for BGSU with a career-high 31 points. He connected on 10-of-12 from the field, 3-of-5 trey attempts and 8-of-9 free throws. Joining him in double figures for the Falcons were Kaden Metheny (15) and Samari Curtis (10). Rashaun Agee chipped in nine points in just 14 minutes of action.
Morgan Safford, who tallied 27 against . . .
. . . Northern Illinois Tuesday, again topped Miami scoring -- this time with 20 points. Forward Anderson Mirambeaux nearly matched that, registering 18 points in 22 minutes. Senior point guard Mekhi Lairy also reached double figures with 15 points.
Bowling Green -- and Ayers in particular -- enjoyed early shooting success. The 6-5 senior guard accounted for BGSU's first nine points, with his run including a 3-point goal and a dunk. Back-to-back baskets by Agee gave the Falcons a 13-4 lead. When he scored on a put-back at 12:24, Bowling Green took a double digit lead (21-11) that it would maintain most of the night.
Adding to Miami's issues were two early fouls on Mirambeaux, who had been whistled for at least four fouls in each of the previous five games. Again, the trouble somewhat limited his minutes, although he did not pick up another foul after returning. His first field goal was at 6:09 of the first half, making it a 32-22 game in favor of the Falcons.
Bowling Green led 46-31 with 1:01 remaining, but Mirambeaux knocked down five straight points to close the period. His triple from the top of key came with one second left. It was also Miami's last 3-point goal of the game. The RedHawks hit 3-of-11 from beyond the arc before intermission and went 0-for-6 in the final 20 minutes.
It was a different story for Bowling Green, which connected on 64 percent from the field overall in the first half. That included 3-of-7 from long distance.
When play resumed, Matheny drained a pair of quick treys. Three of BGSU's first five baskets after intermission were triples and Ayer's trey at 15:11 started a 10-0 Falcon run that gave the hosts their largest lead of the night -- 22 points -- at 66-44.
Miami chipped away and twice pulled within nine points. The last time was at 2:14 when Lairy's layup made it a 78-69 game. Bowling Green converted 7-of-8 free throws down the stretch to seal its victory.
Miami, which shot 49.2 percent from the field overall, actually had three more field goals than BGSU (30-27). However, the Falcons registered four more treys and 12 more free throws after sinking 22-of-24 at the stripe. Miami made 10-of-16 charity tosses.
~~ BGSU owned a 33-25 edge in rebounds.
~~ The two teams combined for 40 turnovers (MU 12, BGSU 18). Miami owned a 21-6 edge in points off turnovers.
~~ Two players eventually fouled out: Julian Lewis for Miami and Gabe O'Neal for the Falcons. Three other BGSU players finished with four fouls. MU's Safford recorded four fouls.
Editor-Publisher Mike Smith
Mike grew up in Mid-American Conference football and basketball territory and returned there after military service. He has been covering MAC football and men's basketball for much of the last several decades.