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Falcons miss chance to clinch MAC, fall to Miami in OT

The men’s basketball team lost it, had it, lost it, got it back and then gave it away. ‘ Last night’s game between BG (17-12, 10-5 Mid-American Conference) and Miami (17-11, 10-5 MAC) had more twists and turns than a roller coaster at Cedar Point. ‘We knew it was going to be a fight. We knew it was going to be a war,’ senior Nate Miller said. Just when it looked like one team had the victory in hand, the other team snatched it away, with Miami eventually coming away with a 50-45 win. Last night, just 24 hours removed from the BG women’s game in which Curt Miller’s bunch put up a season-low 40 points, the men’s team managed to get off to an even slower start. After an eventless first half that seemed at times to be more comparable to a geology lecture then a basketball game, the Falcons came away with 13 points. After Brian Moten opened up the game with a three pointer, the Falcons went colder then ever before. They displayed poor shooting, poor shot selection and sloppy ball handling. They finished the half with a 4:8 assist to turnover ratio and shot a miserable 28.6 percent from the field. Things were so bad at one point, that BG even gave Eric Marschall the green light from beyond the arc. It didn’t generate any offense, though Marschall was the first half’s leading scorer with four points. Still, even after their wretched first half, the Falcons trailed only 17-13 at the half. BG came out looking better in the second half than they had in the first, but still weren’t matching the scoring of the RedHawks. Miami’s Michael Bramos, who came into the game averaging 17.4 points per game, hit three consecutive three pointers, and with 10:00 to play, and Miami leading 34-34, the Falcons chances seemed to be slipping away. ‘He [Bramos] worked for everything,’ coach Louis Orr said. ‘We didn’t give him great looks, but he kept attacking. He wanted to win.’ Then, behind great play from Otis Polk, who had been plagued with foul trouble for the first three quarters of the game, and Nate Miller, the Falcons went on a methodical 13-0 run that put the Falcons up 37-34 with under two minutes to play. ‘Our guys played with maturity and growth, coming back all that way showed that,’ Orr said. ‘They laid that press on us and we handled it poorly, we put up bad shots and things didn’t happen for us,’ Miami’s Tyler Dierkens said. Finally, after more than nine scoreless minutes, the Redhawks were able to end their drought by putting two free throws on the board. The next time down the floor, Miami’s Dierkens scored to put Miami back on top with 0:30 to play. On BG’s next trip down the floor, they were unable to get that shot they wanted, missed and Miami gained control. By the time that had ended and Miami’s Bramos had put the Redhawks up by three with two free throws, their were only eight seconds left. Coming out of a time out, Miller drove the ball down the court, passed to Clements, and after a few seconds of mayhem, found Scott Thomas who hit a buzzer beating three to send the game into overtime tied at 40 apiece. ‘Scott Thomas is a confident young freshman. He’s got more big shots in him that will lead to wins,’ Orr said. ‘Big play for a young guy.’ And so the game moved to overtime. Miami started off the five minute extra session by scoring the first 5 points and effectively knocking the Falcons on their heals. ‘When you score early in overtime, get of to a good start, I think it gives you the advantage,’ Orr said. ‘ Once again, the Falcons responded, this time with a three point play by Miller. Miami then got another point from the line, which was negated by another field goal by Nate Miller. After Bramos went back to the line again, Miami led by three again with 0:17 to play. Miller drove to the basket at the other end, and despite absorbing some contact, ended with a miss and a no call, effectively ending the game. The regular season MAC Championship was BG’s for the taking, and they couldn’t get it done. ‘When you’re playing for a championship, your going to see some tough games,’ Orr said. ‘It’s a tough pill to swallow.’ BG’s destiny no longer lies in its own hands. Now it’s Miami who controls their own destiny. With one more win, the RedHawks will win the MAC regular season championship. So now the scenario is as follows: BG needs to beat Ohio on Sunday and have Buffalo beat Miami. If that happens, the regular season crown is theirs.

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