By MIKE SMITH
OXFORD, Ohio -- It’s not often that a team can shoot 30.9 percent from the field and still come away with a victory. The Miami RedHawks, however, pulled it off Saturday with a 55-51 win over Bowling Green at Millett Hall.
“We didn’t play great offensively, but we played well enough to win,” Miami head coach John Cooper said. “We’ve been on the opposite end of it enough times this season.”
It was only Miami’s second conference win, with the first coming against Northern Illinois – also on the RedHawks home court – one week earlier. In between, Miami (9-15, 2-8 MAC) was blasted at Eastern Michigan.
Senior Willie Moore was the . . .
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Meanwhile, the RedHawks top two scorer by average points per game, seniors Eric Washington and Geovonie McKnight, struggled to a combined five -of-26 (19.2%) from the field. Washington was seeing action for the first time in four games. He sat for the first two due to injury and was suspended for Tuesday’s game at Eastern Michigan.
“it was obvious that Eric was a little rusty,” Cooper said. It looked like he was winded and tired also, and G (Geovonie McKnight) didn’t have his best gaem offensively. … I’m happy for the kids – battling and finding a way to win.”
Bowling Green (13-10, 4-6 MAC) put three players in double figures. Freshman Demajeo Wiggins, a 6-9 freshman forward, led the way with 12 markers. Senior Spencer Parker added 11 points, while
Miami held a 46-36 advantage in rebounds overall, but BGSU outscored the hosts 14-6 in the paint.
The Falcons actually held the upper hand in several statistical categories, including:
-- Points in the paint (BG 28, MU 22)
-- Bench points (BG 24, MU 21)
-- Total field goals (BG 20, MU 17)
-- Three point goals (BG 4, MU 2)
Neither team shot the ball well. Bowling Green connected on 35.1 percent (20-of-57) from the field and 30.8 percent (4 of 13) from distance.
“We had some really good looks,” said Falcons head coach Michael Huger. “We just missed shots. … It’s mental for these guys right now.
Bowling Green’s shooting percentage, however, was still better than Miami’s 30.9 percent (17-of-55) overall and 20 percent (2-of-10) behind the arc.
Miami trailed at the half, 25-24 and actually shot worse from the field in the second half (28%). Five straight Falcon points – three by Parker and two from Denny – put the visitors up by six to open the second stanza.
Miami came back with an 11-0 run – five from Moore – to grab a 35-30 lead with 13:50 left in the period. The last two points came on free throws from L.J. Livingston after being fouled by Spencer Parker. It was the seventh Falcon team foul, which meant MU would be shooting bonus free throws the rest of the way.
“We knew we had to find some way to be able to put points on the board… and free throws was something that kept us in there,” Moore said.
“We were terrible (on defense),” Huger said. “We let them drive all day. We just let them execute everything that they wanted to do that we talked about in the game plan for them not to do. Our attention to detail was horrendous today.”
Two free thows by Moore at 5:17 gave MU its biggest lead of the contest, 47-40 at 5:16. Any attempt to put the Falcons away, however, was stifled by a series of missed free throws. Even so, Miami still led by six with following two Bryant charity tosses with 18 seconds left.
Denny, who had 20 points in the Falcons 73-62 win Jan. 6 in Bowling Green, accounted for six of BGSU’s final 10 points and nailed a three with 10 ticks left to make it a one possession game, 54-51.
The Falcons fouled Washington with seven seconds remaining, and he made the second of two tosses to seal MU’s win.
Miami at Western Michigan (Tuesday, 7 p.m. ET)
Akron at Bowling Green (Tuesday, 7 p.m. ET)