Men’s basketball lost 70-54 to Bowling Green State University on Saturday afternoon. It was the last home game of the season and the RedHawks were unable to come back from an early deficit.
Miami falls to 10-19 overall, 3-13 in the Mid-American Conference and 10-8 at home. The Bowling Green Falcons are now 13-16 overall, 7-9 in the MAC and 3-10 away.
The team and the 1,600 fans that filled Millett Hall honored Miami’s only senior, guard Jake Bischoff, in the last home game of the season.
“First off, thanks to Jake Bischoff, our only senior player,” head coach John Cooper said. “What he’s done and how he’s sacrificed — he’s been a pillar of what it should look like from a student-athlete perspective.”
BGSU sunk two three-pointers and three layups and roared to a 12-2 lead in the first five minutes. Miami couldn’t answer offensively and kept missing shots to put them behind 16-9 halfway through the first half.
A couple minutes later, two sunk free throws from freshman forward Marcus Weathers brought the RedHawks within three at 16-13. Miami attempted to match the Falcons’ offense and made four of their last six shots to end the half down 30-24.
“I think there were a couple times when their pressure bothered us,” Cooper said. “I thought there were times when we broke it and then we were able to attack, and a couple times we were able to get to the rim.”
Miami found an offensive spark to start the second half with an 8-2 run. Junior guard Abdoulaye Harouna had half of those points and was consistently on the board for the rest of the half, as the RedHawks attempted to counter the Falcons’ unrelenting offense.
In the final 10 minutes of the half, several turnovers allowed BGSU to push their lead into the double-digits. Miami was never able to recover and couldn’t mount a comeback. The RedHawks would answer the Falcons’ offense with sporadic baskets but the game ultimately ended with a 16-point difference.
“You look at the numbers and it’s hard to win when you look at those percentages. In the second half, I thought they did a good job of driving us and getting downhill offensively,” Cooper said. “They made their free throws. We had too many missed threes, too many opportunities around the rim we didn’t convert. You can’t do that — not if you’re trying to win, that’s for sure.”
It was a game haunted by the number 16 as Harouna had 16 points and a career high five steals. Michael Weathers also had 16 points and a team high of six rebounds. Sophomore guard Antwon Lillard led BGSU with 16 points and nine rebounds.
Bowling Green (47.2 percent) edged Miami (39.3 percent) in field goal percentage. Neither team found success from behind the arc, but the Falcons went 3-for-18 (16.7 percent) whereas the RedHawks struggled and went 2-of-24 (8.3 percent).
“It’s hard because you want your last season to be real successful but, you know, the goal was to win a MAC championship and to make some noise in the tournament,” Bischoff said. “You’re not going to win the regular season title, but once we hit the tournament I wouldn’t want to play us because we’re going to have a chip on our shoulder. If we can hit our stride in these last two games we can make this season special.”
The RedHawks end the regular season on the road at the University of Akron today at 7 p.m. and at Ohio University on Friday at 6:30 p.m. The last time the RedHawks faced Akron, they lost 74-70 at home. The RedHawks are also looking to tie the season series against OU after losing 79-62 to the Bobcats at home last week.