DeKalb, Ill. - Walter Offutt matched his career-high with 19 points and Ohio topped Northern Illinois this evening 67-58. Ohio led by as many as 20 in the second half as it improved to 18-4, 6-2 in Mid-American Conference play.
Nick Kellogg scored 12 points, all on three-pointers, as he reached double figures for the fourth time in MAC play. It was the first time the sophomore had scored in double figures since the win over Kent State. Stevie Taylor finished with eight points, his best total since December 23, going a perfect 3-for-3 from the field.
Reggie Keely matched his best scoring total for the season in MAC play with 13 points. The junior corralled five of Ohio's 31 rebounds, while Jon Smith led the Bobcats with eight. Ivo Baltic snagged seven rebounds and also dished out a season-high six assists but was held without a field goal. Last year, Baltic poured in a career-high 31 against the Huskies.
Ohio trailed by seven early at 15-8 before going on an 8-0 run to reclaim the lead. Kellogg scored six points during the run as Ohio took a 16=15 lead with 8:50 remaining in the first half. The Bobcats took a one-point lead to the lockers, 27-26, as Offutt led the Green & White with seven points.
Ohio pounced on NIU in the second half as the Huskies went without a field goal for the first 6:26 of the stanza. During that time, Ohio built its lead to double figures and the 'Cats would coast to the finish line.
Ohio limited NIU to just 29 percent shooting from beyond the arc (6-21) and the Bobcats have now limited their opponents to fewer than 37 percent shooting from the field over the last three games.
Ohio also capitalized at the charity stripe, going 20-of-26 at the line, one shy of the season high for makes. Offutt alone was a perfect 9-for-9.
Ohio hosts Central Michigan this Saturday at 2 p.m. The game will be the annual "Be Blue" promotion presented by Holzer Clinic in support of prostate cancer awareness.
As part of the promotion, the first 1,000 fans through the main gate will receive a free "Be Blue" t-shirt courtesy of Holzer Clinic. In addition, Ohio Athletics will host a pregame student tailgate outside of the Convocation Center student gate beginning at 1:00 pm.
The tailgate will feature 1,000 Kiser's BBQ sandwiches, 1,000 "Be Blue" t-shirts, live DJ/music and pregame remarks from Head Coach John Groce.
Gates open at 12:30 pm prior to Saturday's game and all fans are encouraged to arrive early to receive a t-shirt. To purchase tickets, click here or call 800-575-CATS (2287).