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`Cats Control Post Play, Outmuscle Huskies

Feb. 5, 2011

Final Stats |  Quotes |  Ohio vs. Northern Illinois Photos 

ATHENS, Ohio - Ivo Baltic scored 31 points and grabbed nine rebounds, both career highs, to lead Ohio to an 80-73 Mid-American Conference victory over Northern Illinois on Saturday.

After a three-pointer by Xavier Silas with 4:18 remaining cut Ohio's lead to 70-65, its smallest margin of the second half, Baltic's jumper 28 seconds later put the Bobcats (11-12, 4-5) ahead 72-65.

Baltic (Kansas City, Mo.), a sophomore forward who came in averaging 8.7 points per game, eclipsed his career high of 20 points during the first half, when Ohio took a 39-30 lead. He shot 12-of-20 from the field and was 7-of-10 from the line while also finishing one rebound shy of a double-double, pacing the Bobcats with nine boards.

It was the second-consecutive game an Ohio player has scored at least 30 points. D.J. Cooper had 30 Wednesday in a 91-85 loss to Central Michigan.

DeVaughn Washington (Virginia Beach, Va.) scored 16 points and grabbed six rebounds for the Green & White, who outscored NIU 38-16 in the paint. It was the fifth-straight game that Washington reached double figures. Cooper (Chicago, Ill.) had another solid all-around game with 13 points, seven assists and six rebounds.

Ohio shot 44.6 percent from the field and limited the Huskies to less than 40 percent shooting. NIU did manage to knock down nine three-pointers while Ohio connected on only one. However, the Bobcats were the more physical team on this day, getting to the free-throw line 25 times and converting 21 (84.0 percent).

Another sign of Ohio toughness came in the rebounding department. Averaging 36.8 rebounds per game, NIU had the top rebounding team in the MAC during conference play. On this day, the Bobcats finished with 13 offensive rebounds and out-boarded NIU 40-38.

Silas, the nation's second-leading scorer at 24.2 points per game, finished with 25 for Northern Illinois (7-14, 3-6), 16 of them in the second half. Antone Christian added 17 while Tim Toler finished with 11 points and a game-high 10 rebounds.

Despite allowing Northern Illinois on the board first, Ohio took advantage of early turnovers by the Huskies and jumped out to an 11-5 lead in the first six minutes of the contest.

The Bobcats pushed the lead to nine before an 11-4 spurt closed the gap to just two points with 5:49 remaining in the half.

Ohio outscored Northern Illinois 16-9 over the remainder of half to take a nine-point cushion into the locker room.

The teams were locked in an even battle to start the second half, but the Bobcats maintained the lead and were ahead by double figures at the 13:35 mark. Baltic added six more points during that stretch to push his individual total to 27.

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