BOWLING GREEN — The Bowling Green State University men’s basketball team knew it couldn’t afford to lose Wednesday night.
Yet when the Falcons found themselves trailing Miami by seven at halftime at the Stroh Center, the feeling in the BG lockerroom wasn’t one of panic.
“There was a huge sense of urgency,” Jordon Crawford said. “We talked in the lockerroom about doing whatever it took to find a win.
“It’s winning time now, and we’ve got to win each game.”
The Falcons found a way to win, claiming a 52-44 victory over the RedHawks thanks to an impressive defensive effort in the second half. BG allowed Miami to make just 20 percent of its shots and score just 13 points in that period as the Falcons won their fourth-straight home game.
“You just have to be able to grind,” said Bowling Green coach Louis Orr. “That’s the message: You have to grind for 40 minutes.
“And this was a grind win.”
Bowling Green (12-16, 6-7 Mid-American), which got 19 points from Crawford along with nine points and eight rebounds from A’uston Calhoun. Allen Roberts scored 16 points to lead Miami (8-18, 3-10).
The RedHawks had the better of play in the first half, getting a 10-0 late in the period fueled in part by nine Falcons turnovers that led to easy shots.
Miami shot 50 percent from the field in the half and led 31-24 at the break.
Orr said much of the halftime focus was on cutting down turnovers.
“It was about taking better care of the basketball,” he said. “I thought we handled their traps better [in the second half].
“And I thought we did a better job of getting back on defense and making them play half-court basketball.”
A key factor in Bowling Green’s comeback was its ability to wipe out that halftime deficit quickly, scoring the first seven points of the period to tie the game just four minutes in.
“That was big,” Orr said. “The first five minutes of the half set the tone for the rest of the half.
“We got back into the game without us having to fight tooth and nail just to get back into the game. It erased the lead, and from there we were playing even-Steven basketball.”
From that point there were five ties until Jehvon Clarke’s layup with 6:31 left gave the Falcons a 44-42 lead. Miami cut the lead to one point at 45-44, only to see Calhoun hit a 3-pointer with 2:19 left to solidify the win.
“That’s an A’uston Calhoun shot,” Orr said. “Only A’uston can pull a shot out like that.
"And I thought it was a big, big shot because it gave us a cushion, and we were able to hold on.”
The Falcons were able to hold on thanks to their defense, which allowed Miami to score just two field goals and four points in the game’s final 11 minutes.
“Our defense was tremendous in the second half,” Crawford said. “We were locking them up.
“Even if we’re not hitting shots, if the other team doesn’t score we’re still in a good boat."