End of the line

Andrew Harner and Andrew Harner

It wasn’t a pretty start to the No. 25 Falcons’ time in the national spotlight. And the finish wasn’t much better either. After posting their lowest first-half point total of the season (14), BG (25-3, 13-1 Mid-American Conference) still took a three-point lead into halftime, but Miami (14-14, 6-9 MAC) found their stroke in the second half, downing the Falcons 45-40. With their 25-game winning streak coming to an end, BG coach Curt Miller said the team had a really difficult offensive night. ‘We just had a really, really difficult night at the offensive end,’ Miller said. ‘We couldn’t get any kind of rhythm, any kind of momentum.’ For the Falcons, their first-half shooting output (6-of 34, 17.6 percent) was easily their worst shooting performance for a half in the conference season with the previous low coming against Ball State (25 percent). The team shot 17.8 percent in the first half when they opened their season at Temple. Miller attributed the drought to Miami’s strong zone defense. ‘We thought we’d have more a mixture of man and zone, but when you start out of the gate shooting the way [we] did, it’s kind of an easy decision for them to stay in zone and see if we can make shots on the road,’ Miller said. The Falcons also struggled at the free-throw line, making just 13-of-21 (61.9 percent). The team averages nearly 80 percent for the season. Individually, Lauren Prochaska (10 points) had her worst outing against the RedHawks. In her four career games against the RedHawks, Prochaska has now scored 83 points in her four career regular season games against Miami (20.75 ppg). Jen Uhl led the team in rebounds with 14, and Pontius led the team in points with 11. In the end, though, none of those stats were enough. What looked like it might have been enough was a Sarah Clapper three-pointer with 5:58 left in the second half that gave BG a 33-32 lead. Miller said the shot felt good at the time, but it may have led to more problems. ‘I felt like the whole team felt relieved,’ Miller said. ‘I thought everybody relaxed for a second, but when you relax you might give up something at the defensive end or rebounding.’ On defense, the Falcons allowed the RedHawks to get back in their rhythm during the second half as they shot 39.3 percent, a big increase from their 17.9 first half percentage. The loss stopped the Falcons from tying the MAC record for longest winning streak which was set by Central Michigan during the 1983-84 season when they won 26 straight games en route to a perfect conference season. Additionally, Miller and Fantanarosa are now once again tied for fourth place on the MAC’s all-time wins list with 175. BG will go into its final MAC game this Saturday at home when they face Ohio.