Jan. 16, 2013
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ATHENS, Ohio - The Ohio University men's basketball team raced past Northern Illinois, 81-63, on Wednesday night inside the Convocation Center.
The win was the fourth-straight for Ohio (12-5, 3-0 MAC) and marked the fourth-consecutive home game in which the `Cats posted at least 80 points. The Green and White have shot 55.8 percent (126-226) from the field in those four contests at the Convo.
Senior guard Walter Offutt (Indianapolis, Ind.) led Ohio with 19 points on 6-of-8 shooting, while senior forward Reggie Keely (University Heights, Ohio) added 12 points and three rebounds in 19 minutes of action.
Fellow senior D.J. Cooper (Chicago, Ill.) posted nine points and a game-high eight assists. With his fifth assist of the game, Cooper moved past Butch Moore (SMU) for 23rd place on the all-time NCAA Division I assists list. The 2013 Cousy Award finalist now has 832 assists in his career.
The `Cats shot 50.9 percent (27-53) from the field in the game and limited the Huskies to just 35.1 percent (20-57) from the floor. It marked the fourth-straight game Ohio held its opponent under 40 percent shooting for the game.
Ohio posted 12 steals in the contest and forced 20 Huskies turnovers, which led to a 28-10 edge in points off turnovers.
The `Cats entered the game ranked first in the nation in assists per game (19.3), and added to their national lead with a 25-assist performance. Ohio held a +20 edge (25-5) in assists for the contest.
After Ohio scored the first four points of the game, Northern Illinois responded with eight of the next 11 to take an 8-7 lead at the 15:14 mark of the first half.
With the Huskies up 12-9, the Bobcats found their shooting touch, connecting on four 3-pointers over a 2:16 span to fuel a 20-0 run. The surge helped Ohio open up a 17-point lead (29-12) advantage with 5:35 to play in the half.
A baseline jumper from Offutt off a good feed from junior forward T.J.Hall (Gainesville, Fla.) extended the Ohio lead to 24 (40-16) and a 3-point play by junior forward Jon Smith (Columbus, Ohio) with less than a minute to play gave the `Cats a 45-18 advantage at the break. In all, Ohio closed the half on a 36-6 run.
The Bobcats shot 68.0 percent (17-25) from the field in the half and made 7-of-11 3-pointers (.636). Offutt led Ohio with 12 first-half points on 5-of-5 shooting.
Northern Illinois scored the first four points of the second half to move within 23 (45-22) a minute into the second half, but a 10-2 run by Ohio midway through the period extended the `Cats lead above 30 at 61-28 with 12:01 to play and Northern Illinois could not move closer than 18 points for the remainder of the contest.
With the win, Ohio improves to 33-2 in its last 35 contests inside the Convocation Center. Ohio has now won six-straight games against Northern Illinois.
The Bobcats remain at home to take on MAC West foe Toledo on Saturday (Jan. 19) at 6 p.m. The game will be broadcast locally on SportsTime Ohio and across the nation on ESPN3. Michael Reghi will handle play-by-play duties, while Dave Cecutti will provide color commentary. "Voice of the Bobcats" Russ Eisenstein and Rob Cornelius will call the action live on the Ohio IMG Sports Network powered by Horizon.
-- GO BOBCATS!! --