Falcons let early lead slip away, fall to RedHawks, 74-65

OXFORD, Ohio — Bowling Green State University men’s basketball lost 74-65 to the Miami RedHawks on Tuesday night at Millett Hall.

The Falcons and RedHawks played a defensive-heavy first half with BGSU taking a 29-26 lead into the halftime locker room.

In the second half, Miami came back to take a 74-65 final. The loss moves BGSU to 10-18 on the season and 4-11 within the Mid-American Conference. Miami is also 10-18 and 4-11.

“We’re so inconsistent in energy and effort and that’s the one thing you can control,” BGSU coach Michael Huger said.

“Wanting to compete, wanting to be better, wanting to do better and that’s my frustration. The energy and the effort we brought for Toledo (91-86 Toledo win at the Stroh Center Saturday), we brought none of that to Oxford.”

Samari Curtis led the Falcons in scoring with 17 points, all coming in the second half. Chandler Turner reached double-digits as well, finishing with 10 points.

Leon Ayers III filled the stat sheet with nine points while leading the team in both rebounds (9) and assists (6).

The Falcons came out with defensive intensity, forcing turnovers on each of the first two Miami possessions. A layup from Sam Towns on the fastbreak and a three from Ayers gave BGSU a 5-0 advantage at the first media timeout.

The RedHawks put together a 6-0 run to move in front 6-5, but an Ayers effort for the offensive rebound turned into a Kaden Metheny jump shot to push the Falcons to a 7-6 lead, beginning a string of traded baskets between the teams, heading to the next media timeout tied at 11-11.

The trading of baskets continued through the timeout until the next media break with the Falcons leading 18-17.

A steal by Curtis pushed the Falcons out in transition, ending with a three from Bowling Green High School graduate Isaac Elsasser, his second of the half, off an assist by Ayers to give BGSU a 21-19 lead at the final media timeout of the first half.

The Falcons were able to maintain their advantage to the halftime buzzer, heading to the locker room up 29-26.

Bowling Green got the first bucket of the second half off a Turner hook shot, but a 7-0 run by the RedHawks pushed Miami out in front 38-36 before Turner tied it up 38-38, heading to the first media timeout 41-40 Miami.

Out of the timeout, the RedHawks continued an 8-1 run to take a 46-41 advantage. The run stretched to 17-4 with the score at 55-44 at the under-8 media break.

The Falcons were able to use a 6-0 run to cut the lead down to 61-55 at the final media timeout of regulation.

The RedHawks extended their lead back to double-digits, but the Falcons came fighting back to close it to 66-59 and force a Miami timeout. Miami held their lead through the end of the game.

As a team, the Falcons logged 10 steals in the contest marking the first time in the month of February, and third time this season, with double-digit steals.

Ayers’ nine rebounds set a new season-high for him and matched his career-high. Of the nine, seven came on the defensive end, a new season-high for defensive rebounds.

Curtis put together a strong second half for the Falcons, scoring all 17 of his point in the second half.

Tuesday marked the 150th meeting all-time, and the second this season, between Bowling Green and Miami. The all-time series leans to the RedHawks with a record of 99-60, but the Falcons won the last meeting and have taken two of the last four.

In the previous meeting at the Stroh Center this season, BGSU claimed an 83-73 victory behind 31 points from Ayers. Metheny added 14 while Curtis and Rashaun Agee combined for 19 points off the bench. Bowling Green’s last win in Oxford came on Jan. 16, 2018 in an 81-70 final.

The Falcons will be back at home for their next two contests, marking the last two home games of the season. BGSU will host Kent State Saturday for Senior Night at the Stroh Center and a 5 p.m. tip.