CLEVELAND - The Bowling Green men scored a first for the season Monday in its win over Ball State in the opening round of the MAC tournament.
"We have not done a good job against teams we have beaten," BG coach Dan Dakich said. "It [the Ball State win] is the first game where we beat a team we had previously beaten."
The Falcons will need to turn that trick again when they play Miami in the tournament quarterfinals at 7 p.m. today at Gund Arena.
BG, the tournament's eighth seed, will have its hands full trying to knock off the top-seeded RedHawks. But the Falcons used a last-second shot by Josh Almanson to claim a 57-56 victory at Anderson Arena less than two weeks ago.
In some ways the two teams mirror each other. Both feature patient, patterned offenses and aggressive, intense defenses. The two coaches seem to echo one another when talking about the keys to winning.
"You have to play very disciplined and you have to play very well to beat Miami," Dakich said. "If you don't, they grind you down. They beat you by wearing you out because they play such good defense. They have a methodical but efficient offense, and if you're not disciplined they hit the right guy at the right time and you're frustrated."
Miami coach Charlie Coles said similar things about the Falcons.
"We've got to match their intensity," Coles said. "When they play us, they've been the most intense team we've seen the last three or four years. And they are the best in the league at executing their offense.
"We have to come up with some energy."
Both teams have a dominating one-two punch: Miami's Chet Mason and Danny Horace combine for more than 28 points per game, while BG's Josh Almanson and John Reimold produce more than 35.
But in the first meeting both teams got contributions from other players. The Falcons got 14 points from Steven Wright, while the RedHawks' William Hatcher led his team with 16.
One difference is that Miami, as the tournament's top seed, did not have to play its way into the tournament. While Coles said the rest was good for his team, he wondered if a season-ending loss may have put some doubts into his team's minds.
"We're not coming off any success," Coles said. "I often wonder, how will we come back out and play [in our next game]?"
Meanwhile the Falcons, who also lost their final regular-season game at home to Central Michigan last Saturday, got a chance for redemption on Monday.
"Saturday we blew it, and we still haven't made up for Saturday. But this is a step in the right direction," Almanson said.
And what would make up for Saturday?
"A MAC [tournament] championship," Almanson said.