Miami-Ohio (9-18) at Bowling Green (15-13)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Wednesday, February 29th, 7:00 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Stroh Center (6,327) -- Bowling Green, Ohio. Television: BCSN. Home Record: Miami-Ohio 7-6, Bowling Green 11-3. Away Record: Miami-Ohio 2-11, Bowling Green 4-10. Neutral Record: Miami-Ohio 0-1, Bowling Green 0-0. Conference Record: Miami-Ohio 5-9, Bowling Green 8-6. Series Record: Miami- Ohio leads 76-50.
GAMES NOTES: In-state foes Miami-Ohio and Bowling Green will renew their rivalry when the RedHawks land in the Stroh Center for a Mid-American Conference battle with the Falcons.
When these teams met in early January it was Bowling Green that ended up on the winning side by posting a 65-57 victory over Miami-Ohio on the road. The RedHawks still have the all-time series advantage (76-50) although the Falcons have won three of the last four matchups.
Miami-Ohio has had a rather unsuccessful season at just 9-18 overall including a 5-9 mark in league play that places the RedHawks in last place in the MAC East Division. After posting a 62-60 upset victory over Kent State the RedHawks followed up with an 84-74 loss to Buffalo and have now lost three of their last four. On Friday the regular season comes to a close for Miami-Ohio with a matchup against Ohio.
Bowling Green has had a better year but has still been inconsistent in compiling a 15-13 overall record to go with a respectable 8-6 ledger against MAC competition. The Falcons record in league play is good enough for just fifth in the competitive East Division. In the last four games Bowling Green has traded wins and losses with a 74-58 defeat of Kent State the most recent outcome. Bowling Green will go up against Buffalo in its regular season finale.
Miami-Ohio fought hard against a superior Buffalo squad in its last time out and went into the half tied 33-33 with the Bulls. The RedHawks couldn't keep up in the second half as despite a 51.9 percent shooting performance overall fell victim to a 18-9 discrepancy from the free throw line.
It was surprising to see the RedHawks keep up with the leagues best offense. Miami-Ohio has been a severely low scoring offense this season putting in only 61.6 points per game which is better than only three other squads in the MAC. The team has been unable to keep other teams of the glass in pulling down only 29.8 boards per game as a team which ranks at the very bottom of the conference. The team's struggles in both scoring and rebounding are in stark contrast to the play of its star forward Julian Mavunga. The senior (16.9 ppg, 9.1 rpg) leads the conference in both categories and is one of only two players averaging in double figures on the season for the RedHawks. Against Buffalo, Mavunga kept up his scoring with 20 points but was dominated by the Bulls solid inside game by bringing in only two rebounds. Freshman guard Brian Sullivan (10.7 ppg, 48.1 3P%) is the teams other player in double figures and does so primarily from beyond the arc where he went 4-for-7 on Saturday to score 14 points.
Bowling Green shot well from the floor (.544) in its most recent win over Kent State and was also effective from three point range (9-of-18), while forcing 21 Golden Flash turnovers.
Efficiency rather than large output has been the mantra of Bowling Green's offense this season as the Falcons score at just a 67.2 points per game rate but are shooting the second best field goal percentage (46.4 FG%) in the MAC this season. On the defensive side of the ball, the Falcons are allowing a respectable 63.2 points per game. Bowling Green is not so centrally focused as Miami-Ohio with the team spreading the scoring primarily among four players. Forwards A'uston Calhoun (13.4 ppg, 6.0 rpg) and Scott Thomas (12.9 ppg, 6.4 rpg) are the two best scorers for the squad as well as the team's leading rebounders. The duo combined for 38 points and 11 rebounds in the win over Kent State with Thomas' 21 points a game-high. Jordon Crawford (10.7 ppg, 4.9 apg) and Dee Brown (10.4 ppg) are the teams other primary options although Crawford also makes major contributions in terms of ball movement by handing out the fifth most assists per game in the conference.
Bowling Green has a blueprint of how to beat Miami-Ohio with the key to slowing down Mavunga. The Falcons may not have the best frontcourt in the country, but the combination of Thomas and Calhoun should be enough to keep Mavunga from dominating inside.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Bowling Green 68, Miami-Ohio 60
02/29 10:42:14 ET