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Bobcats Slam Central Michigan, 76-44

Jan. 14, 2006

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ATHENS, Ohio - Ohio allowed just seven first half points and Whitney Davis racked up a career-high 17, as the Bobcats rolled to a 76-44 victory over Central Michigan Saturday in front of more than 10,000 fans in the Convocation Center.

The Bobcats (10-2, 4-0 MAC) led 31-3 with 3:27 left in the first half, went to the break up 35-7 and eased to the 32-point victory in the second half. Ohio remains perfect in the league and moves to 10-2 overall, its best start in a decade.

Davis (Ann Arbor, Mich.) came off the bench Saturday and was an instant highlight reel, converting four reverse lay-ins and an open court dunk on his way to a career night in the scoring column. The junior finished 7-of-10 from the floor and hit both of his free-throw attempts.

A textbook Ohio balanced scoring attack reigned Saturday, as 11 Cats hit the points column. Davis led the Bobcats with 17, while Leon Williams (Baltimore, Md.) and Jerome Tillman (Beavercreek, Ohio) each kicked in 11 points and eight rebounds. For Tillman, his scoring production off the bench marked a career-high.

Ohio's suffocating defense was a factor in the early going and never let up. The Bobcats scored the game's first seven points before a Central Michigan three at the 16- minute mark got both teams on the board.

From there, though, the game blew wide open in Ohio's favor. The Bobcats scored the game's next 24 points and it wasn't until 52 seconds remained in the first half that Central Michigan (2-11, 0-5 MAC) hit its first two-point goal.

At the break, eight Ohio players had already been penciled into the scoring column, though no Bobcat had double figures. Davis led with eight, while Williams had seven and seven boards.

Central Michigan shot 8.3 percent from the floor in the first half, converting just 2-of-24 attempts. The Chippewas hit 1-of-7 three-point tries and converted 2-of-3 free-throws. With five points, Giordan Watson led the visitors with five points and accounted for more than 70 percent of his team's output.

Out of the locker room, Central Michigan was able to cure some of its first-half offensive woes, though they'd have no remedy for a 28-point halftime deficit.

The Chippewas pulled to within 19 at the 9:13 point in the second half on the strength of a 13-0 run. Central Michigan would not, however, come any closer. Ohio came back firing in the final 10 minutes, leading by 30, 69-39, with less than four minutes and taking its largest lead of the game, 32, as the clock hit all zeros.

Ohio shot 44.8 percent (26-58) from the floor and 23.1 percent (6-26) from beyond the arc for the game. The Bobcats outscored Central Michigan 40-14 in the paint and turned 18 Chippewa miscues into 20 points.

Central Michigan managed to shoot 23.2 percent (13-56) from the field and 22.7 percent (5-22) from three-point range. The Chippewas were led by Sefton Barrett's 12-point, 11-rebound double-double and a 12-point effort from Watson.

Ohio's Jeremy Fears (Joliet, Ill.) recorded four steals and eight assists.

The 44-Central Michigan points were the fewest an Ohio team has allowed since 1993, when Youngstown State managed just 42.

During intermission of Saturday's Dad's Weekend contest, Ohio University graduate and former athletic department employee Dan Lowe was honored at midcourt. Lowe, one of the founding members of Ohio's student section--The O-Zone--,died suddenly in June of last year while playing basketball in The Convo. Lowe's parents--Burgess and Margaret--joined Ohio Director of Athletics Kirby Hocutt and E.W. Scripps School of Journalism Director Tom Hodson on the floor Saturday to officially establish the Dan Lowe Memorial Endowed Scholarship.

A two-game road trip awaits the Bobcats next week. Ohio will travel to Northern Illinois on Tuesday, Jan. 17. Tip-time is set for 7:05 CST in the NIU Convocation Center. An Ohio win would mark the first time a Bobcat team has won 11 of its first 13 games since the 1940-41 season.