Bowling Green's Jordon Crawford shoots a 3-point shot that put the Falcons ahead 51-49 with about two minutes left in Wednesday's game against Miami. BG improved to 16-13, 9-6 in the MAC.
BOWLING GREEN -- The Bowling Green State University men's basketball team leaned heavily on its seniors on Senior Night.
And seniors Scott Thomas and Dee Brown delivered in the clutch to lift the Falcons to a 56-51 win over Miami at the Stroh Center on Wednesday.
"When you honor your seniors, it can be an emotional day," BG coach Louis Orr said. "At this time of year everybody has a lot to play for, so this was a big win.
"Our [seniors] stepped it up at the end, and I'm happy for them."
Jordon Crawford led the Falcons with 16 points and had four assists, while A'uston Calhoun added 15 points. Thomas nearly had a double-double with 10 points and nine rebounds, while Brown had 11 points for the Falcons, who are now 16-13 overall and 9-6 in Mid-American Conference play.
Julian Mavunga finished with 17 points and 10 rebounds to lead four players in double figures for Miami (9-19, 5-10). Drew McGhee came off the bench to score 13, while Jon Harris had 11 and Quinten Rollins 10.
Bowling Green controlled much of the play through the first half, using a pair of six-point runs to lead 30-27 at the break. Then when the Falcons scored the first nine points of the second half, BG's 12-point lead with 15:44 left seemed to be enough cushion for the Falcons to claim their sixth consecutive home win.
But a short time later Miami responded with 14 consecutive points to take the lead by a 43-41 count with 7:35 left.
"Give Miami credit," Orr said. "You have to play for 40 [minutes] against Miami.
"We needed to keep the scoreboard moving, and we weren't scoring. And they were making shots. Our defensive slides weren't very great, and then we played a couple of possessions of man [defense] that didn't really change things.
"We had to go back to our zone, and our guys stepped up and made some shots."
The first big shot was made by Crawford, who stopped Miami's run with a 3-pointer from the left corner with 7:11 to play.
Bowling Green's Scott Thomas, who finished with 10 points, shoots over Miami's Drew McGhee.
"It was a two-on-one break, and I was hoping the ball would be swung my way," Crawford said. "They got the ball to [Anthony Henderson], and he gave it to me. I was wide open -- I just had to knock down the shot."
Miami did score the next four points before Calhoun made a put-back in the lane with 5:09 on the clock.
Then the seniors stepped forward. Thomas stole a pass on the RedHawks' next possession, and Brown hit a 3-pointer from the top of the key with 4:32 left.
"The play wasn't for me, but the ball ended up in my hands," said Brown, who was 1-for-7 shooting before that basket. "The coaches always tell me to shoot it, because I am a shooter, but I was struggling all game long.
"I had to concentrate and knock down the open shot when Jordon passed it to me."
Thomas then took a charge to give the Falcons the ball back and, while Miami eventually tied the game one last time, it felt as if order was restored. Bowling Green used a 7-2 finish to close out the win.
"I think Bowling Green has some 'tough' guys," Miami coach Charlie Coles said. "I watched them in the tournament last year, and they couldn't get it right for anything.
"Now that team has turned it around, and they are pretty good.
NOTES: With Kent State's home win over Ohio, the Falcons cannot earn a bye in the MAC tournament. The Falcons will play a first-round home game on Monday, against an opponent to be determined. The school will sell all tickets for the 7 p.m. game for $1. … With the win the Falcons swept the season series with Miami for the first time since the 2001-02 season. … The win gave Bowling Green a 7-2 record in February -- the program's first seven-win month since December of 2006.
Contact John Wagner at: firstname.lastname@example.org, 419-724-6481, or on Twitter @jwagnerblade.