Rebounds, fouls kill Falcons

CLEVELAND – Committing 23 fouls and being out-rebounded by 20 is usually not the best formula for success in college basketball.

This logic held true last Wednesday in the first round of the Mid-American Conference tournament as the Ohio Bobcats defeated BG 69-59 at Cleveland’s Quicken Loans Arena. The victory for the Bobcats advanced them to the next round to take on eventual champion Miami while the loss for the Falcons ended their season and left questions surrounding the future of head coach Dan Dakich – who is in the last year of his contract.

“There are a lot of people dealing with a lot more stuff than with what I’m dealing with,” Dakich said. “I worry about the next day – how we’re going to get this team better.”

“The disappointing thing for me is that we didn’t play better once we got into the conference season.”

The Bobcat inside presence of Leon Williams and Jerome Tillman really gave the Falcons trouble. BG big men Matt LeFeld and Otis Polk both had three fouls before halftime.

With both LeFeld and Polk saddled with foul trouble, it left the Falcons very small and allowed the Bobcats to dominate inside and collect 20 more rebounds than the Falcons over the course of the game.

With the Falcons paying so much attention to Williams and Tillman on the inside, it left Bobcat sharp-shooter Bubba Walther open on the outside. Walther was able to connect on five 3-point attempts on the day.

“They had a good inside presence and a good outside presence and they feed off each other,” said BG forward Nate Miller who led the Falcons with 16 points and 10 rebounds.

“Our plan was to help inside and make them kick it out, but Walther got hot and that’s where they hurt us.”

Walther really changed the game when he hit three consecutive 3-pointers to give the Bobcats a 41-36 lead with 16 minutes to go in the game.

The Falcons tied the game at 43 after a Brian Moten 3-pointer with 14 minutes to go in the game. Moten had four 3s on the day.

After that point, the Bobcats went on to score the next 11 points to put the game out of reach.

Tillman and Williams took advantage of the Falcons’ lack of size and both recorded double-doubles on the day.

MAC Tournament Notes

The Miami RedHawks won the tournament upsetting both top seeds (Toledo and Akron) in the process on their way to the MAC crown.

The RedHawk victory over Akron featured one of the most dramatic endings in MAC tournament as Miami reserve guard Doug Penno banked in a 3-pointer with 0.6 seconds on the clock to give the RedHawks a 53-52 victory.

“I was looking around in disbelief that it happened in the first place,” Penno said. “Honestly I just put it up. I said a prayer while it was up in the air, and God answered that prayer. I don’t think I will ever forget that shot. I just put it up and had faith.”

The RedHawks earned a No. 14 seed and will play No. 3 seed Oregon Friday in Spokane, WA.

RedHawk forward Tim Pollitz was named Tournament MVP and was also named to the All-Tournament Team along with teammate Michael Bramos, Akron forwards Jeremiah Wood and Romeo Travis, and Central Michigan guard Giordan Watson.