KENT, Ohio- The Ohio University men's basketball team (15-5, 6-0 MAC) held off Kent State (11-9, 2-4) to capture its seventh-consecutive win and remain perfect in Mid-American Conference play as it defeated the Golden Flashes on the road 69-68.
Ohio's win over Kent State marked the first time since the 1973-74 season in which the `Cats have gone 6-0 in league games. It also marked the first time since the 1992-93 campaign in which Ohio had gone 3-0 on the road to open conference play.
A competitive contest from start to finish, the game featured 15 ties and 20 lead changes, but senior guard D.J. Cooper's (Chicago, Ill.) back-to-back to free throws with 55 seconds remaining gave the Bobcats the lead for good.
Cooper finished the contest with a game-high 23 points as he connected on 8-of-14 shots from the field. He also dished out five assists and had three steals. His fifth assist tied him with former Bradley star Anthony Manuel (1989).
Fellow senior Reggie Keely (University Heights, Ohio) also had a strong night from the field as he finished with 20 points, connecting on 9-of-13 shots from the field. Junior guard Nick Kellogg (Westerville, Ohio) chipped in as he finished with 10 points, knocking down a pair of 3-pointers.
Ohio scored seven of the game's first 11 points, but Kent State responded by scoring the game's next six points to go up 12-9, before Cooper tied it up with a strong drive that led to a 3-point play. With KSU leading 15-12, Ohio posted four-straight to go up 16-15 and led 22-21 after another drive and finish from Cooper.
Kent held a 29-27 edge with 4:11 remaining in the first half, but Ohio re-claimed the lead after a 3-pointer from sophomore guard Stevie Taylor (Gahanna, Ohio) which made the count 32-31. The Golden Flashes scored the final five points of the half and led 36-32 at the break.
Ohio shot 50.0 percent (14-28) in the half to Kent's 40 percent (10-25), but the Flashes held a 16-1 edge in free throw attempts and converted 13 of those tries.
Keely scored seven of the first nine points of the second half to help Ohio re-take the lead, 39-38, just two minutes into the stanza. Kent State responded with a 6-0 run to take a 44-39 lead, but from there, Ohio responded with a 14-2 run of its own to surge in front by seven (53-46). Cooper notched nine of the 14 points in the critical stretch.
From there, Kent State moved back within three (53-50), before the `Cats scored seven of the next nine points to extend the lead to eight (60-52) with 7:33 to play in the game.
At that point, Kent State rallied with an 11-0 run to take a 63-60 lead with 4:43 left in the game. From there no team would lead by three points for the remainder of the game. Ohio would go on to hold KSU scoreless from the field in the final minute. KSU's final look came from inside the painted area by Randal Holt, but it would not go down as the Bobcats secured the win.
Ohio returns home to face Eastern Michigan on Wednesday (Jan. 30) inside the Convocation Center. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m. Ohio is 3-0 against MAC West Division foes this season. "Voice of the Bobcats" Russ Eisenstein and Rob Cornelius will call the action live on the Ohio IMG Sports Network powered by Horizon, with live audio and video available on OhioBobcats.com. Pre-game audio coverage begins 30 minutes prior to tip (6:30 p.m.).