Falcons reverse role in win

With one streak all but snapped, the BGSU men got greedy – nearly too greedy – in an effort to halt another one.

BG, likely the unluckiest team in the Mid-American Conference, stopped a three-game losing skid and possibly reversed its heartbreaking late game fortunes with a 73-71 win over Eastern Michigan last night at Anderson Arena.

BG, losers of five MAC games by a combined 13 points, was finally able to walk away victors in a league game decided by in a single possession. And if the win begins a more comforting trend, the Falcons will gladly look over the fact they led Eastern by eight points with just 1:09 remaining.

“We’ve been in so many [close games] now, we should have handled it better,” said BG coach Dan Dakich.

BG, which lost a pair of league games in overtime the past two weekends, improves to 9-13 overall and 5-7 in the MAC. The Falcons won at Eastern, 79-72, on Jan. 18.

In its other disheartening MAC losses, BG was often a rebound or free throw away from winning. Last night, the Falcons were a jump shot away from losing after leading by as many as 15 points in the second half.

EMU freshman Carlos Medlock misfired with his foot on the line from the right corner with two seconds to go and neither team was able to come up with the rebound. Medlock made plenty of big plays in the second half, scoring 14 of his game-high 22 points, but an outside jumper wasn’t what his coach was looking for in that situation.

“He probably should have tried to attack and go to the rim and get someone to help, but the fact that he had the cajones to take the shot, I don’t have a problem with it,” said first-year Eagles coach Charles E. Ramsey.

Medlock, a 6-foot guard, began the Eagles’ rally in the final minute by hitting a pair of free throws with 1:02 remaining to cut the lead to six. He followed with a couple lay-ups – the last one with :13 left when he drove baseline to cut BG’s lead to 72-71.

“I’ll go out on a limb, if he’s not the best freshman in the conference, I don’t know who is,” Ramsey said.

Eastern fell to 5-15 (2-10), snapping a two-game win streak that included MAC wins over Central Michigan and Ball State.

Martin Samarco (19.6 ppg) and John Bowler (18.6 ppg), in a match-up of the league’s top two offensive players, each scored 20 points. But Bowler was held to just one field goal in the first half as he was checked tightly by BG’s Matt Lefeld and Erik Marschall.

Bowler, who finished with an impressive 17 rebounds, had more turnovers (three) than points (two) in the first half.

“That’s unacceptable,” Ramsey said. “When he goes into the paint, good things happen.”

But near the end of the game, Bowler was standing around the perimeter, getting fronted by Mawel Soler, who inherited the defensive responsibilities after Lefeld and Marschall – BG’s tallest two regulars – fouled out of the game.

Bowler, despite standing four inches taller than Soler, never reached the paint during Eastern’s final possession.

“At the end of the day, Mawel did a good job of getting around [Bowler’s] front,” Dakich said.

Dakich can point to a play here or a play there, but without efficiency from the free-throw line, he’s probably talking about how his team lost another close game in the MAC and what they can do to correct the problem. The Falcons were 22-for-33 from the line and made six of their last eight attempts.

“Free throws were huge at the end of the game,” said Steven Wright, who had 17 points, including seven from the line. “We’ve been working at it all week because our games have been very close at the end. We’ve been shooting a lot of free throws during practices, in between practices, after practices.”