Jan. 12, 2014
Box Score | Photo Gallery
ATHENS, Ohio – The Ohio University men’s basketball team (11-4, 1-1) fought hard through two overtimes but could not dispatch of the visiting Akron Zips (10-5, 2-0), who escaped Athens with an 83-80 victory Sunday evening.
Ohio led by four (70-66) with 22 seconds to play in overtime, but five points down the stretch in overtime from Akron’s Quincy Diggs forced a second overtime. The Zips held a 12-9 scoring edge in the second extra session.
“We were definitely in position [to win] and I give them some credit," head coach Jim Christian said. "They made some big shots - they weren’t easy shots. But no doubt, we made some mental mistakes, didn’t finish some plays that you have to make to win the game."
The Bobcat defense made eight steals and forced 17 Akron turnovers, but the Zips grabbed 17 offensive rebounds and shot 51.3 percent (20-39) from the field in the second half and overtime sessions to come away with the win.
Junior forward Maurice Ndour (Mbour, Senegal) led Ohio with a career-best 25 points (8-14 FG) and grabbed six rebounds while converting 9-of-10 attempts from the free throw line. Senior guard Nick Kellogg (Westerville, Ohio) chipped in 19 points and four rebounds, while fellow senior Travis Wilkins (Springfield, Mo.) tied his career high with 14 points and made 2-of-3 3-point attempts.
Senior forward Jon Smith (Grove City, Ohio) put forth one of the best defensive efforts of his career with a personal-best eight blocks to go along with five points, three steals and a team-high seven rebounds.
He’s so good at [blocking shots] and has great timing at rotating over and getting a piece of the ball," Christian said. "He’s a good one-on-one defender."
The Zips jumped out to an early 13-8 lead, before seven consecutive points from Wilkins put Ohio up 15-13 at the 8:25 mark of the first half. The Bobcats went up by four (21-17) with 4:12 to go in the half, but the Zips closed the stanza on a 9-4 run to take a 26-25 lead into the break.
Akron opened up a four-point lead (37-33) early in the second half, before Ohio blitzed the Zips with a 16-4 run to build a nine-point edge (52-43) with 8:16 to play in the game.
Akron responded with an 8-3 surge to pull within three (54-51) and a 3-pointer from the Zips’ Quincy Diggs tied the game at 56-56 with less than three minutes to play in the contest. The ‘Cats went up by two (60-58) on a jam by Ndour, but Akron tied the game at 60 with less than a minute to go.
The Zips had the ball with the shot clock off, but could not score, sending the game into overtime.
From there, Diggs converted on back-to-back possessions to erase Ohio’s four-point lead (70-66) in overtime, and Akron was +3 in the second overtime session.
Ohio plays its first MAC West opponent Wednesday when the ‘Cats take on Ball State (3-9, 0-1) at 8 p.m. inside the Convo. The game will be televised locally on Time Warner CableSportsChannel and broadcast nationally on ESPN3. Ohio fans also can listen to the contest live on the Ohio IMG Sports Network, with pre-game coverage beginning at 7:30 p.m.