Feb. 4, 2006
BOWLING GREEN, Ohio -
For the first time in over seven years, the Ohio men's basketball team won at Bowling Green with a 93-90 double overtime victory Saturday at Anderson Arena.
Antonio Chatman (Charlestown, Mass.) led the Bobcats with a career-high 19 points while Sonny Troutman (Indianapolis, Ind.) scored 17 and Jerome Tillman (Beavercreek, Ohio) added a career-best 16 points in the Mid-American Conference win.
Ohio (13-6, 7-4 MAC) led by 13 points, 69-56, with three minutes remaining in regulation but Falcon guard Martin Samarco personally outscored the Bobcats 14-1 over the next two minutes to tie the game at 70-70 with a minute to play. Ohio missed three chances to regain the lead in the final minute and Samarco missed a jumper at the buzzer that would have extended the Bobcats' streak of losses at Bowling Green to six straight games, dating back to January 1999.
Instead, Ohio went to its first overtime game since last season's MAC Tournament championship game win over Buffalo. In the closing seconds of the first overtime period, Troutman tipped in a miss by Mychal Green (Columbus, Ohio) to tie the game at 77-77.
In the second overtime, Chatman sank a jumper to give the Bobcats a two-point lead but Bowling Green's John Floyd answered right back with a three-pointer. After a Tillman jumper, the Falcons regained the lead with a pair of Matt Lefeld free throws at the 2:36 mark.
Junior guard Whitney Davis (Ann Arbor, Mich.) responded with a three-pointer and following a missed three-pointer by Floyd, junior forward Johnnie Jackson (Memphis, Tenn.) sank one of two free throws to push the Ohio lead to three with a minute and a half to play.
Floyd then converted a layup and free throw to tie the score but sophomore center Leon Williams (Baltimore, Md.) managed his own three-point play on the other end to make it 88-85 with 38 seconds left. After a pair of free throws by Falcon guard Steven Wright, a Davis layup again pushed the Bobcat edge to three.
With just 18 seconds remaining, however, Samarco hit his seventh three-pointer of the game to tie the score at 90-90. On the ensuing inbounds, Chatman was quickly fouled and proceeded to make the first free throw. When the second attempt bounced out, Jackson grabbed the offensive rebound for Ohio and then sank two free throws with one second remaining to seal the victory.
"When I went into the locker room, all I did was put a big heart on chalkboard because I thought we showed tremendous heart today," said Bobcat head coach Tim O'Shea. "I thought it was a real team effort and I'm just proud we were able to come in here and pull out a victory today."
In addition to Chatman, Troutman and Tillman, two other Ohio players reached double figures as sophomore guard Jeremy Fears came off the bench to score 11 and Williams added 10 points and 10 rebounds to register his fifth double-double of the season and the 14th of his career. Davis scored eight points for the Bobcats while Jackson contributed seven and senior guard Mychal Green recorded five points, eight rebounds, three assists and two steals.
Chatman, however, was the story of the game. In addition to bettering his career high by 10 points, the sophomore point guard grabbed four rebounds and dished out five assists while committing only one turnover in 45 minutes of action.
"Tony had total command of the game and I think he willed us to this win in a lot of ways," O'Shea said. "He controlled the tempo the whole game and made virtually no mistakes at the point. He continually broke them down with his penetration and found wide-open shooters."
Samarco led all scorers with 28 points and Floyd ended up with 22 for the Falcons, who dropped to 8-13, 4-7 in the MAC.
Ohio will host Northern Illinois on Thursday, Feb. 9, at 7 p.m. in the Convocation Center. The Bobcats hope to avenge a 64-59 road loss to the Huskies on Jan. 17.
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