ATHENS, Ohio- On a day dedicated to former Ohio great Gary Trent, the Ohio men's basketball team (15-4; 3-2 MAC) pulled out a nail biter, defeating rival Miami 69-65 Saturday afternoon in front of over 13,000 fans in the Convocation Center.
Junior forward Ivo Baltic (Kansas City, Mo.) scored a game-high 20 points to lead Ohio. He was also one of four Bobcat players in double figures. Baltic's 20-point effort marked the 10th-consecutive game in which he has reached double figures.
Joining Baltic in double figures were junior guard Walter Offutt (Indianapolis, Ind.) with 15, junior guard D.J. Cooper (Chicago, Ill.) with 13 and junior forward Reggie Keely (University Heights, Ohio) with 11.
Ohio held a 32-29 rebounding edge with junior forward Jon Smith (Columbus, Ohio) leading the way with six rebounds.
Miami jumped out to a 22-10 lead with 10:00 minutes remaining in the first half behind five 3-pointers, including a pair of threes for Josh Sewell and Brian Sullivan. Ohio battled back going on a 13-5 run of its own to cut the Redhawks lead to 27-23 behind four points from Baltic and sophomore forward T.J. Hall (Gainesville, Fla.). Miami led at half 37-31.
During halftime Gary Trent's stellar career as a Bobcat was honored and his #20 jersey was retired and hung from the Convocation Center rafters. The 3-time MAC Player of the Year is the fourth player in Ohio University history to have his jersey retired.
Offutt led Ohio in scoring with 13 points at the break as the team shot 43 percent from the field. Baltic joined Offutt in double figures scoring 10. The Bobcats out-rebounded Miami 14-12 including pulling down seven offensive boards. On the defensive end Ohio forced Miami into committing six turnovers.
Sullivan led Miami, scoring 11 points while going 3-for-3 from deep. As a team the Redhawks shot 67 percent from the field and hit 8-of-11 triples (73 percent).
The Bobcats opened the second half on a 16-8 run to take the lead 47-45 with 10:22 remaining in the game. Keely led the charge scoring nine points. Miami answered opening up an eight point, 59-51 lead thanks to another Sullivan triple and four points from Quinten Rollins.
The Bobcats once again answered going on a 13-4 run capped off by an Offutt steal and layup to retake the lead 64-63 with 52 seconds to play. With just under 20 seconds to play, Offutt followed his own shot pulling in a critical offensive rebound.
Sophomore guard Nick Kellogg (Westerville, Ohio) made two free throws, his first points of the day, and Cooper hit 3-of-4 foul shots down the stretch to guarantee Ohio the victory.
Keely led the Bobcats in the second half, scoring all 11 of his points, while Cooper added 10 points in the final 20 minutes. Ohio shot 52 percent from the field in the second half, compared to Miami's 38.7 percent from the field.
The Bobcats were also tough defensively, holding the Redhawks to 16.7 percent shooting from beyond the arc.
The Bobcats return to the Convo to face Western Michigan on Wednesday, January 25. The game is scheduled to begin at 7 pm and will be televised on STO.