Bowling Green sophomore guard Kaden Metheny made 9-of-17 shots, including 5-of-9 from downtown, and scored 25 points to lead the Falcons past Ohio, 88-79, at the Stroh Center Saturday.
Metheny, who also had three steals on the defensive end, can hit shots from well beyond the arc when he must, but he owed much of his performance Saturday to the courtesy of senior guard Samari Curtis.
The 6-foot-4 Curtis had eight points and five rebounds, but a good portion of his seven assists came after he found Metheny on the perimeter.
That included two consecutive three-point shots Metheny hit with three minutes remaining in the game, taking the Falcons from a 73-72 lead and blowing it wide open at 79-72.
“We have a great connection. That’s my guy, my brother” Metheny said. “We’ve developed such a great friendship off the court.
“We’re roommates on the road so we have a lot of time with each other in that aspect. I can’t talk enough about how smart he is to be able to find me on the court,” Metheny said.
“He’s coming off the bench now after starting all year, but man, it shows the character of how well he’s handling it. It’s really elevating our team to another level because of it.”
After hitting his second straight trey in the closing minutes, Metheny did a celebratory dance before Ohio called a timeout. Sam Towns, a 6-9 junior forward, saw that moment as key for giving the Falcons momentum down the stretch.
“It was huge because playing at home is such a great advantage especially when you have fans that are so into the game,” Towns said.
“It really hurts the other team because it’s loud in there, and it helps through play calls and is to our advantage when it’s loud like that and the fans keep going.”
Matheny’s two long-distance shots were the result of Curtis’ fifth and sixth assists of the game, and Curtis got his seventh on a dish inside to 6-8 junior forward Rashaun Agee, whose basket put the Falcons up 82-75 with 1:15 remaining.
Overall, the Falcons shot 49% (31-for-63) from the field, 10-for-23 (44%) from beyond the arc, made 16-of-20 (80%) free throws while improving to 8-7 overall and 2-0 in the Mid-American Conference. Ohio falls to 8-7 and 0-2.
The Falcons committed just five turnovers, while the BGSU defense caused 14 Ohio turnovers, including seven steals as Bowling Green outscored Ohio 21-6 in points off turnovers.
Agee was a force defensively with four blocks, and Towns, an Ohio transfer playing against his former teammates, had two blocks.
Three other Falcons got into double figures, including Agee, who had 16 points, making 7-of-10 shots, and he grabbed six rebounds.
BGSU senior guard Leon Ayers III was a perfect 6-for-6 at the line after getting fouled six times, scoring 13 points with four assists. Towns had a double-double 10 points and 10 rebounds.
Starting senior guard Brenton Mills was 3-for-4 from three-point territory, scoring nine points with two assists, and starting senior guard Chandler Turner had five points, five rebounds and two steals.
Bowling Green High School product Isaac Elsasser, a senior guard, contributed during his 10 minutes-plus on the court, scoring two points with an assist.
BGSU coach Michael Huger said the level of play he’s seeing from his players during the two MAC wins is night and day from during the non-league portion of the season, where at times they seemed to struggle with the speed of the game.
“Our guys are now accepting that challenge and starting to play as one,” Huger said. “That’s the biggest difference. We’re playing as one unit now instead of 15 individuals. Hopefully that will last the rest of the season, but we’ll see.”
After losing the last four games decided by single digits, this one went the Falcons’ way, proving that the Falcons look like a different team in 2023 than they were in 2022.
“It talks about our character,” Towns said. “At the beginning of the season we weren’t doing anything like this.
“It’s really something that the coaches have been on us about, finishing in games and it really feels good to come into those close games and come out with a solid team effort.”
Ohio held a 41-33 advantage off the glass, including 13 offensive rebounds as the Bobcats had a 16-5 scoring advantage in second chance points.
A big reason for that was the physical play of 6-8, 250-pound graduate-student forward Dwight Wilson III, who was a beast, getting 17 points and 17 rebounds, including five on the offensive end.
Ohio freshman guard A.J. Brown had 17 points and two assists and senior guard DeVon Baker had 10 points and three assists.
However, Wilson, Brown, and Baker were swatted two times each by either Agee or Towns. As a result, Ohio was limited to making 27-of-61 field goals (44%) but made 10-of-21 (48%) from downtown. The Bobcats were 15-for-21 (71%) from the charity stripe.