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Ohio rallies to win Battle of the Bricks

Miami clinches last place

<p>Miami sophomore forward Eli McNamara attempts a hook shot over a Bowling Green defender during a 73-55 RedHawk victory over the Falcons on Feb. 29 at Millett Hall.</p>

Miami sophomore forward Eli McNamara attempts a hook shot over a Bowling Green defender during a 73-55 RedHawk victory over the Falcons on Feb. 29 at Millett Hall.

The final five seconds of the Battle of the Bricks and Bam Bowman’s career at Millett Hall started ticking down.

Five, four...

Bowman, the RedHawks’ lone senior this season, received a pass on the left wing and fired a potential game-winning 3-pointer.

Three, two...

No good. The shot bounced off the side of the rim toward the floor.

One, zero.

The Ohio Bobcats escaped Millett Hall with a 67-65 victory over Miami on Friday, spoiling the RedHawks’ Senior Night and officially parking them in last place in the Mid-American Conference.

“For him (Bowman) to have a night like tonight, I was hoping that final three would’ve went down, not only for our sake, but for him, because he does deserve it,” Miami head coach Jack Owens said.

Bowman said he thought the shot was going in. Celebrating both Senior Night and his 22nd birthday, he dropped 17 points and added five rebounds. 

“He gutted it out,” Owens said. “He’s the one kid in this program that we thought we’d get this from every night. He’s been battling so many injuries this year. I’m just proud of him.”

Bowman muscled in the first two points of the game. 

The RedHawks struggled from behind the 3-point arc, missing their first 11 shots from deep in the first half. They finished the period 1-of-16 on threes, but from inside the line, they made eight of their nine attempts.

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Two runs defined the half. 

Ohio built an 18-11 lead through the first 13 minutes, but Miami responded with nine consecutive points to leap ahead, 20-18. The Bobcats then closed out the half with an 11-2 stretch and jogged into the locker room with a 29-22 advantage.

In the early action of the second half, the RedHawks stayed within striking distance until Ohio hit 40 points. 

From there, Miami caused a 20-3 swing, blasting in front, 54-43. The RedHawks increased their lead to a game-high 12 points (59-47) with four and a half minutes left.

Ohio sophomore guard Jason Preston brought the Bobcats back, pouring in seven straight points in a 37-second span and knotting the score at 63.

One possession later, freshman guard Miles Brown put Ohio up with two free throws.

Bowman made a game-tying layup, and the Bobcats embarked on a 45-second long possession, complete with three offensive rebounds and an eventual game-winning shot.

Brown converted a layup with 14 seconds left, prompting Owens to call a timeout.

Then came Bowman’s 3-point miss and the final buzzer.

Miami will play at Buffalo Monday night in the first round of the league tournament.

“It’s a quick turnaround,” Bowman said. “We’ve just got to get ready for Monday. It’s 0-0 now in the conference race. So, it’s win or go home, and we’re looking to win.”