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Miami knocks off BGSU

By Zach Maciaszek
On February 24, 2014

The Miami University men's basketball team (10-15, 6-8 MAC) halted a five game losing streak Sunday, toppling Bowling Green State University (11-16, 5-9 MAC) 55-52 at Millet Hall.

The Falcons' Jehvon Clarke came up short on a 3-point heave from half-court as time expired. Falcon sophomore forward Spencer Parker scored a game-high 18 points in the losing effort.

Senior forward Will Felder and sophomore guard Willie Moore led the RedHawks with 11 points apiece. The 'Hawks were shorthanded, as senior forward Bill Edwards was out with a hamstring injury.

Felder said it was a relief for Miami to pull off the win, its first in three weeks.

"It feels great," Felder said. "It's never a good thing when you have back-to-back losses because that can do a lot for your morale in terms of pushing it down. This win is definitely a turning point for us."

The Red and White came out strong to start the game, going on a 15-6 run in the opening five minutes of play. MU employed its full court press from the onset, forcing several turnovers that led to easy baskets.

For the game, Miami held an 18-5 advantage in points off turnovers.

Bowling Green fought back to within one, 25-24 with 4:11 remaining in the first half. Two 3-pointers from the pair of Australian freshmen - forward Josh Oswald and guard Jaryd Eustace - helped Miami build a 35-25 lead heading into the locker room.

Bowling Green made several key adjustments in the second half that got them back into the game.

The Falcons made a concerted effort to pound the ball inside and take advantage of Miami's lack of size. BG held the advantage in points in the pain 38-22 for the game.

"They were looking to exploit us," Felder said. "We're obviously a small team, even when I'm in there on [senior center] Cameron Black, I'm pretty undersized compared to him in the post ... to try to offset the size [difference], we have to box out and rebound as a team."

Black had eight points and 10 rebounds.

Despite Miami's deficit in size, they still competed on the boards, being outrebounded only 39-36.

Another second-half change the Falcons made was a switch to their zone defense. The 'Hawks had trouble penetrating the zone, converting only five field goals for the entire second period.

Despite their struggles in the second-half, the RedHawks were able to hold on the rest of the way, never relinquishing their lead.

In search of a spark for his team, head coach John Cooper inserted Moore into the starting line-up. Moore has struggled for most of the season, shooting only 37 percent on the year. It was his first career start at Miami.

"We've sort of been trying to find some energy, trying to find someone who can bring different things for us and help us out," Cooper said. "We called Willie's number and I thought Willie did a pretty solid job."

Moore, who added three assists and six rebounds to his team-leading 11 points, handled point-guard duties for large portions of the game.

"He hasn't run the point a ton for us," Cooper said. "Still, he remembered just about everything and was able to keep us in offense and made pretty good decisions in transition, which is what I was looking for."

The RedHawks certainly hope Moore's improved play is a positive trend that will continue for the rest of the season, starting with their next game against Akron University (17-10, 9-5 MAC) Wednesday.

MU lost its first meeting with the Zips 59-52, in a comeback bid that fell short. Felder led all players with 16 points in that contest.

Akron has lost two games in a row, giving up valuable positioning in the Mid-American Conference standings. The Zips are paced by senior forward Demetrius Treadwell , who leads the team in both scoring and rebounding at 14.7 points and 8.8 rebounds. Treadwell recorded a double-double with 15 points and 10 rebounds in the first matchup between these two teams.

Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m. Wednesday at Millet Hall.

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