3-point barrage sees Falcons drop second straight to Miami

Evan Hayes and Evan Hayes

For the second time in as many games, the Bowling Green men’s basketball team came off on the wrong side of one of their final conference matchups of the season Tuesday when they welcomed the Miami RedHawks to the Stroh Center.

The Falcons entered looking to clinch a top seed in the MAC postseason tournament, but a torrent of 3-pointers by Miami and a poor defensive showing saw the home team fall 82-69. It was the second time in as many contests that Bowling Green (19-9, 11-4 MAC) gave up more than 80 points and lost to a team with a losing record.

“This loss was all on me. I’ve got to do a much better job of preparing my guys and getting them all focused on the defensive end and understanding how important defense is,” coach Michael Huger said. “That’s the thing that got us to this point, so we’ve got to get back to it.”

The RedHawks offense started hot and only got hotter, making 15 of 33 total three pointers on the night (45.5 percent) while recording 17 assists, moving the ball and finding open shots with ease. In the absence of solid defensive play, the Bowling Green offense struggled to find any momentum, shooting 38 percent from the field and eight of 28 3-pointers, with only two made in the second half.

“I know we haven’t been playing defense,” forward Demajeo Wiggins said. “If we’re not playing defense, a team can come out and go to work on you, and that’s what has happened the past couple games for us.”

The Falcons were led by Wiggins, who scored 14 points and grabbed 11 rebounds, and guard Justin Turner, who scored 14 points. Guard Dylan Frye scored 13 points while forward Daeqwon Plowden scored 11 points and had four blocks.

The first half started close but well for BG, with back-to-back 3-pointers by Plowden and two buckets in the paint by Wiggins, spurring a 10-0 run that allowed the Falcons to take a 17-10 lead at the 12-minute mark. The RedHawks would then seize the advantage using a 21-5 run that saw them hold the Falcons scoreless for over four minutes. A 3-pointer by Frye closed out the half to send both teams into the breaks with the RedHawks leading 41-35.

Bowling Green came out strong to start the second half, pulling within 1 point of the RedHawks 52-51 at the 14-minute mark on a 3-pointer made by Turner. The RedHawks shut down the Falcons over the next 13 minutes, finishing the stretch on a 28-10 run and cruising to victory.

“I thought we relaxed on the defensive end and we stopped playing the intense defense that got us to that point,” Huger said. “We thought the game was going to be over right then and there, and we stopped fighting and stopped playing.”

The Falcons, who now sit second place in the MAC, will look to clinch a top three seed and a first-round bye in the postseason tournament when they host fourth place Kent State this Friday. The game is scheduled for a 6 p.m. tip off and will be broadcast on ESPN+.