With the score tied at 67-all and 3:49 to play, Bowling Green’s defensive anchor Caleb Fields bumped
Miami’s Dalonte Brown on a RedHawks offensive rebound.
Brown — Miami’s leading scorer on the night — was set to go to the foul line with a chance to take the
lead following a timeout.
Fields wanted to see something.
“I had bumped him on purpose just to see his reaction. … He got a little upset and I was like, ‘OK, I’m
in his head now,’” Fields said. “I like to talk trash and when I talk trash that just gets me riled up
and I just play harder.”
Fields, paired with a career day from sophomore center Tayler Mattos, spearheaded an intense second half
in leading BG to a 78-76 Mid-American Conference win at the Stroh Center on Tuesday.
Bowling Green improved to 10-5 overall and 1-1 in the MAC. Miami, which was the only MAC school to beat
BG twice without a loss last season, fell to 7-8, 0-2.
Fields, who earned significant playing time as a freshman last season due to his tantalizing on-ball
defense, is a key piece of the Falcons’ starting lineup because of that same relentless defense. But
after earning his second foul midway through the first 20 minutes, Fields played just eight minutes in a
first half where Miami scored 45 points and shot a blistering 60% on 15 3-point attempts.
He brought a different attitude in the second half — never leaving the floor — and his intensity on both
ends of the floor down the stretch helped spark BG to its first MAC win of the season. Miami, which shot
1 of 13 on 3s in the second half, finished 24 of 70 (34.3%) from the field and 10 of 28 (35.7%) from
“When I came out in the first half, coach told me that my defensive intensity wasn’t there. Halftime came
and I talked to myself, thought about it, and I was like I have to lock this dude down,” Fields said,
emphasizing his matchup with Miami’s leading scorer Mike Zibande. “I lead the defense, I’m the anchor to
the defense, that’s what coach always tells me. Once I started locking down, the whole team followed.”
“He did such a good job on Zibande in the second half that it was hard to take him out of the game,” BG
head coach Michael Huger said.
Fields, who held Zibande to nine points on 3-of-14 shooting with two turnovers and no assists, was just
as important on offense in the closing minutes. Three of his four rebounds were on the offensive end,
including two in the final 2:30 beginning with a 72-70 deficit.
With 2:12 remaining, Fields soared in for an offensive rebound and immediately went back up for putback.
After rolling around the rim, the ball fell through the net to tie the score at 72-72. A minute later,
with the score tied again, Fields launched himself up for a tip-in putback and the final lead change of
Miami still had two chances at the win in the final 13 seconds. Following a timeout with 12.3 seconds to
play, Fields blocked the inside shot which led to a pair of Dylan Frye free throws. With 0.3 seconds to
play, Miami’s Mekhi Lairy headed to the foul line for three attempts after being fouled on a last-second
3-point attempt. He missed the first and after sinking the second, his intentional miss on the third
shot was booted out of bounds by BG.
Frye finished with a game-high 22 points, made three 3s, and led with four assists.
“This was a fun game. … We had to show what we were made of. We were tough down the stretch and we got
the stops that we needed. … I still think we can play much better defense,” Huger said.
“We’re supposedly the top dogs now and we haven’t done anything. We can’t play as if we’re champs. We
have to go out there and play as if we’re still the underdogs.
“We still have to fight and we still have to be hungry. That was the difference tonight, I thought we
were very hungry. … Win or lose, I like the effort that we gave tonight.”
Tayler Mattos, who brought as much effort as anyone on the floor for BG, finished with a career effort.
The double-double was the first of his career, finishing with 18 points and 11 rebounds. He shot 6-of-8
from the field, which included his first career 3-pointer atop the arc in the game’s first four minutes.
Mattos played a part in the turning point for the Falcons. Less than three minutes into the second half,
Mattos and Turner were tied up in an attempt for a defensive rebound on a missed free throw before the
ball ricocheted out of bounds. Miami earned three more chances at a bucket in the possession, grabbing
multiple offensive rebounds before a tip-in putback pushed the RedHawks ahead 52-40 — which was just two
points of their largest lead of the game — with 17:48 to play.
Huger motioned for a timeout and was as animated as he had been all season, visibly frustrated with the
“I just talked about us rebounding and being tougher on our rebounds. The way we had to fight and the way
we had to go after them, it wasn’t what I was expecting in that series,” Huger said of the moment.
BG responded with a Frye triple in the left corner. In the next minute Frye worked the pick-and-roll with
Mattos before finding the 6-foot-11 big man for a dunk. On the next possession, Mattos made his way to
the paint after Justin Turner missed a euro-step floater, and tipped the ball back up for a basket and a
chance at a three-point play.
The made free throw brought the Falcons within four, 52-48, and gave him his career-high with 14 points
at the time.
“Tayler, that’s what I was looking for the whole time. I see that in practice,” Huger said. “We talked
about our practice translating to the game, and the first couple I didn’t see that. Today we saw what we
do in practice translated to the game.”
“It comes with minutes. I’m getting more and more comfortable,” Mattos said. “Coach Huger had told me in
practice, we need more paint scorers because we struggled with that last game. I think that gave us a
“I was just trying to be aggressive. They beat us the last two times we played them, last year. That
doesn’t sit well in your stomach, so I just came out and locked in tonight.”
Turner — who was not on a minutes restriction for the first time since returning from his hamstring
injury — finished with 16 points, five rebounds and three assists in 35 minutes. Daeqwon Plowden, who
made his first two 3s and finished 3-of-8 behind the arc, added 13 points and a team-high 12 rebounds.
Miami’s Brown, a Toledo Bowsher graduate, had a 20-point, 11-rebound double-double.