ASHEVILLE, N.C. - The Ohio University men’s basketball team (10-3) rallied from a 12-point halftime deficit to wrap up non-conference play with a 79-70 win at UNC-Asheville (6-8) Saturday inside Kimmel Arena.
Ohio opened the second half with a 16-3 run to take a one-point lead (47-46) midway through the period, then withstood a number of Bulldog runs to hang on for the win.
Junior forward Maurice Ndour (Mbour, Senegal) led the Bobcats with a career-high 24 points, while Nick Kellogg matched his personal best with 23 points on 7-of-12 shooting. Ndour added 10 rebounds to post his second career double-double and also chipped in four assists and two blocks.
Kellogg set a new career high with nine rebounds and made all six of his free throws. It marked the second time this season that Ohio had two players score 20 or more points in a game.
Senior guard/forward T.J. Hall (Gainesville, Fla.) added 12 points, five rebounds, three assists and a career-best three blocks for Ohio off the bench.
Ohio shot 44.9 percent (22-49) for the game, including a 52.2 percent (12-23) mark in the second half. The Bobcats also limited UNC-Asheville to 32.2 percent (19-59) for the game, including just 22.2 percent (6-27) in the second half.
After Asheville's Andrew Rowsey hit five of his first six 3-pointers, Ohio limited the hot shooting freshman to just 1-of-8 from beyond the arc to end the game.
The Bobcats distributed 16 assists on 22 field goals and made 30-of-34 free throws (.882) in the game.
The Bulldogs made six of their first eight 3-pointers – including four from Rowsey - to jump out to a 26-11 lead with 11 minutes to play in the first half. A dunk from Ndour pulled Ohio within 10 (35-25) with 5:11 to play in the half, but the Bobcats could not move any closer at the break and trailed, 43-31, at halftime.
The Bobcats started the second half on a 9-0 run and tied the game at 46-46 on a 3-pointer from Travis Wilkins. Ohio took a two-point lead (55-53) after free throws from Ndour, but Asheville responded with a 7-0 run to go back up by five (60-55).
Ohio answered with some timely shooting, as 3-pointers from Kellogg and Taylor pushed Ohio ahead by three (63-60) and the Bobcats extended the edge to five (71-66) on a jumper by Ndour as the shot clock expired.
The Bulldogs moved within three (73-70) but could not score for the remainder of the game as Ohio made six free throws down the stretch.
With the victory, Ohio won its 10th non-conference game for the third time in five seasons and finished with a winning non-conference road record for the third time in the last four years.
The Bobcats are now 9-0 when they hold their opponent to 70 points or fewer this season.
Ohio opens Mid-American Conference play with a 7 p.m. contest at Kent State (9-4) on Wednesday (Jan. 8). The game will be televised locally on Time Warner Cable SportsChannel and broadcast nationally on ESPN3. Ohio fans can also listen to the contest live on the Ohio IMG Sports Network, with pre-game coverage beginning at 6:30 p.m.