ATHENS, Ohio- The Ohio University men's basketball team (20-6; 8-4 MAC) limited Bowling Green State University to just one field goal in the final six minutes of the game as it went on to a 72-59 victory over the Falcons Wednesday night at the Convocation Center. The Bobcats' victory was their 20th win on the year.
Ohio hit the 20-win mark for the 13th time in program history and second time under current Head Coach John Groce. The win tonight also broke the record for fastest Bobcat team to win 20 games on the calendar. The 1994-95 team was the quickest in club history to 20 wins, capturing the victory on Feb. 22 against Western Michigan, before tonight.
The victory also snapped Ohio's two-game losing streak and improved the Bobcats' home record to 14-1 overall and 7-0 in MAC play. The 14 home wins are the most since the 1994-95 season when the team went 24-10.
Junior point guard D.J. Cooper (Chicago, Ill.) led Ohio scoring a game and season-high 22 points. He also tallied five rebounds. Sophomore Jon Smith (Columbus, Ohio) added nine points and a game-high nine rebounds (seven on the offensive glass) and junior forward Ivo Baltic (Kansas City, Mo.) scored eight points and pulled in eight rebounds.
BGSU's Scott Thomas led the Falcons scoring 17 points and pulling in five rebounds. Dee Brown added 15 points and Jordon Crawford scored 11 points.
The Bobcats shot 44.6 percent from the field and out-rebounded Bowling Green 43-26 (17-7 on the offensive glass). On the defensive end, Ohio held the Falcons to just 22 percent shooting from beyond the arc.
Ohio opened the game by taking an 18-8 lead at the 12:05 mark of the first half. The Bobcats were led by freshman point guard Stevie Taylor (Gahanna, Ohio) and freshman forward TyQuane Goard(Charleston, W. Va.), who each scored four points during the run. Bowling Green answered going on an 18-10 run to end the first half cutting the Bobcats lead to just 28-26 at half.
Baltic led the Bobcats in scoring at half time recording six points. Cooper added five points and Smith contributed five points and five rebounds. Ohio shot 42.3 percent from the field in the first half and out-rebounded Bowling Green 20-14.
Ohio also benefited from a 14-3 edge in bench scoring. On the defensive end, the Bobcats held the Falcons to just 14.3 percent shooting from 3-point range.
Thomas led all scorers at halftime, recording 12 points for the Falcons. Thomas also led the team in rebounding at the half with four. Crawford contributed six points in the first 20 minutes for Bowling Green.
The Bobcats opened up the second half on a 10-0 run, pushing its lead to 38-26 with 14:45 remaining in the game which was their largest lead of the game at the time. Key contributors for the Bobcats during the run were junior guard Walter Offutt (Indianapolis, Ind.) who scored four points and sophomore guard Ricardo Johnson(Covington, Ky.) who added three.
The Falcons answered going on a 20-10 run of its own cutting the Bobcats lead to just 48-46. The charge was lead by Crawford, Brown and Craig Sealey, with each scoring five points. Bowling Green continued its run and re-claimed the lead 53-52 with just over six minutes remaining in the game (first lead since the 16:08 mark in the first half).
Ohio answered going on a 20-7 run to finish the game. Cooper led the charge scoring 12 points to close out the game.
Cooper led the Bobcats in scoring in the second half, scoring 17 of his 22 points (12 in the final six minutes of the game). Offutt chipped in seven points and Johnson contributed six points. Ohio shot 46.7 percent from the field in the second half.
Brown led the Falcons in scoring in the final 20 minutes with 12 points. Bowling Green shot 38.5 percent from the field in the second half.
The Bobcats have lost only once at home to Bowling Green since 2003 and improved to 40-24 at home all-time against the Falcons. Ohio has now won its last seven home games and its last six against MAC East foes.
The Bobcats return to action on Saturday as they take on UNC Asheville in the ESPN BracketBuster game. The game is scheduled to begin at 7 pm and can be seen on ESPN3.