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Miami struggles in second half, falls to Bowling Green

Matt Heckert - The Miami Student
Matt Heckert - The Miami Student

After holding a halftime lead, the Miami Basketball team (9-9, 2-3 MAC) struggled offensively and defensively in the second half and fell to Bowling Green (12-6, 3-2 MAC) 81-70 at Millett Hall on Tuesday. Miami scored 27 points off 18 caused turnovers for the game, but couldn't overcome the Falcons' 51 points and 70 percent shooting in the second half.

"I thought we had a great first half," Miami head coach Jack Owens said. "We didn't execute great from an offensive standpoint, but we did some really good things defensively. Then we get in that second half, from the fourteen-minute mark to the eight-minute mark, we've just got to figure things out. It's important for me to figure out how to stop that stretch where we don't execute offensively and we have breakdowns defensively."

Miami won the opening tip-off, but came up empty on its first possession. Bowling Green scored the first points of the game on a layup by junior forward Demajeo Wiggins. Wiggins added another layup and a free throw on Bowling Green's next two possessions to push the Falcons' lead to 5-0. A midrange jumper by freshman guard Jalen Adaway got the RedHawks on the board, making the score 5-2 at 17:48.

Freshman guard Nike Sibande gave Miami its first lead of the contest on a three pointer to make the score 15-14 with 12:33 remaining in the half. The RedHawks held the lead until BGSU's sophomore guard Dylan Frye hit a three to put the Falcons up by one with 4:55 left.

After trading the lead back-and-forth for the next three minutes, the RedHawks regained a 30-28 lead on a layup by senior forward Rod Mills Jr. and took a 32-30 advantage into halftime. Overall, the lead changed five times in the first half.

Sibande starred in the first half, scoring 10 points on an efficient 4-5 shooting from the field. Wiggins almost had a double-double in the first half alone as he led all players with 12 points and eight rebounds at the break.

Junior guard Darrian Ringo converted a free throw to kick off the second half scoring and up Miami's lead to three. The Falcons knotted the score at 33 on a three by Redshirt freshman guard Justin Turner. The 'Hawks embarked on a 5-0 run, but BGSU responded with an 8-0 spurt of its own.

Miami took its last lead of the game when Mills made a layup to move the score to 45-43 with 14:42 left in regulation. A midrange jumper by sophomore guard Rodrick Caldwell found twine to tie the game at 45 on Bowling Green's next possession. After two missed layups by Miami, a three pointer by freshman guard Daeqwon Plowden pushed the scored to 48-45 and gave the Falcons the lead for good.

Miami pulled to within one at 50-49, but immediately fell victim to a 7-0 BGSU run.

Jalen Adaway tried to spur a comeback, scoring 13 of his 17 points in the second half, but the Falcons' offense proved to be too much to overcome as they cruised to an 81-70 victory.

"It really just seemed like they were getting good looks and the ball was falling for them," Adaway said about the Falcons' second half attack. "Yeah, that's all I can really say."

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Demajeo Wiggins finished with a 22-point, 15-rebound double-double -- both game-highs. He added five assists and one block.

"[Wiggins] really hurt us tonight," Owens said. "I know if we play him straight up, he's going to at least foul us out or he's going to score. His points hurt us, his rebounding hurt us, his five assists hurt us. He did a good job of picking us apart."

Aside from Wiggins, the Falcons had three other scorers in double-digits. Frye had 16 points, Caldwell scored 12 and Plowden finished with 10.

Sibande led the RedHawks with 20 points, while Adaway scored 17 and corralled a team-high seven rebounds. Darrian Ringo tallied eight points and dished out a game-high six assists. He also led all players with four steals.

The two teams split their season series, with each team winning on the other's home court. Miami beat Bowling Green 77-72 at the Stroh Center on Jan. 2nd. MU still leads the all-time series 83-57.

The RedHawks will try to snap a two-game skid when they take on Ball State this Saturday Jan. 20 at Millett Hall. The contest is scheduled for a 3:30 tip-off and will be broadcast on ESPN3.