The Bowling Green Falcons came to Oxford sitting atop the Mid-American Conference and riding the nation’s fourth-longest winning streak at 10 games.
That streak is over.
Miami (11-9, 3-4 MAC) took down the Falcons 67-53 at Millett Hall on Saturday, giving the RedHawks their third straight victory after starting conference play 0-4.
“That was a big win for us,” redshirt senior forward Aleks Abrams said. “We’ve won three in a row right now … We knew it was going to be a good test for us, and that’s what we’re looking for. We want the challenges. We’re not shying away from anyone.”
Bowling Green (14-6, 6-1 MAC) entered the game as the top rebounding team in the country with over 44 boards per contest but lost the glass battle 38-33.
“We knew we all needed to box out and it was going to be a team effort,” Abrams said. “We knew they had a big dude, no. 1 [senior forward Demajeo Wiggins], who’s a good rebounder. Overall, they’re a good rebounding team. We tried to limit their second chances.”
It took both teams a few minutes to get rolling as no one scored in the first two and a half minutes of the first half.
A layup by Wiggins gave the Falcons a 2-0 lead at the 17:21 mark.
Forty-one seconds later, MU sophomore forward Dalonte Brown made a layup of his own to tie the score at 2-2. Bowling Green couldn’t retake the lead the rest of the game.
Once a dunk by sophomore guard Nike Sibande put Miami ahead 4-2, the RedHawks led until the final buzzer.
While the game never truly devolved into a blowout, Miami went up by double digits less than nine minutes into the first half.
The Falcons ended the period on an 8-0 run, cutting their deficit to five (24-19) entering intermission.
Bowling Green came out of the break and sliced the RedHawks’ advantage to one four minutes into the second.
With 13:30 left in the game, Sibande hit a 3-pointer to spark a 9-0 Miami run that boosted the lead back to double digits.
Following that stretch, the Falcons never trailed by less than nine points.
Miami converted 11 of its 13 free throws in the final three minutes to seal a 67-53 victory.
The win came in front of a season-high 2,257 spectators at Millett Hall.
“We felt today that we had a great crowd,” head coach Jack Owens said. “This is what it’s about. Hopefully, the fans continue to come out because it gives you an advantage. The guys get excited about playing in front of a crowd, to be honest with you.”
After he was held to five points in the first, Sibande put up 20 points in the second half to finish with a game-high 25. He was the only RedHawk to reach double digits in scoring.
Sibande also tied Abrams for a team-high seven rebounds.
Redshirt sophomore guard Justin Turner paced Bowling Green with 12 points. Wiggins pulled down a game-high 10 boards.
Miami is back in action at Millett on Tuesday night. The RedHawks host the Toledo Rockets at 7 p.m., and the game will be broadcast on ESPN+.