March 5, 2013
BUFFALO, N.Y. –Senior guard D.J. Cooper posted a game-high 24 points and nailed the game-winning 3-pointer with 1:34 remaining to give Ohio (22-8, 13-2 MAC) a clutch 72-69 win at Buffalo (12-18, 7-8 MAC) Tuesday evening.
Cooper’s big 3-pointer gave Ohio a 70-69 lead that the Bobcats would not relinquish.
For the game, he connected on 9-of-16 field goal attempts – including a 5-for-10 mark from 3-point territory – and added five assists and two steals.
With his third basket of the game, Cooper reached the 2,000 point milestone for his career and become the first player in NCAA Division I history to post 2,000 points, 900 assists, 600 rebounds and 300 steals in a career. He is one of five players in Bobcat history to record 2,000 career points.
The Chicago, Ill. native also became the all-time leader at Ohio in 3-pointers made with his first triple of the game. Cooper has now knocked down 264 3-pointers in his career.
His 321 career steals have him tied for 21st place on the all-time NCAA Division I steals list with Chris Garner (Memphis) and Gary Payton (Oregon State). Ohio shot 48.3 percent (29-60) for the game and overcame a six-point deficit (69-63) with less than four minutes to play. The Bobcats held the Bulls scoreless over the final 3:51.
The Bobcats were out-rebounded, 43-22, but held a 27-8 edge in points off turnovers and a 27-6 advantage in bench scoring. Ohio forced 19 Buffalo turnovers and made 11 steals.
Senior forward Ivo Baltic (Kansas City, Mo.) chipped in 12 points for the Bobcats while senior forward Reggie Keely (University Heights, Ohio) added nine points and a team-high six rebounds.
The Bulls jumped out to a 12-2 advantage, before five points from Cooper cut the Buffalo edge to seven (16-9) at the 14:25 mark of the first half. With the Bobcats trailing 19-9, Ohio began a 15-4 surge that gave the team a 24-23 lead with 8:02 remaining in the first half.
A 3-pointer from Cooper moved Ohio in front by four (35-31), and Cooper’s fourth triple of the half extended the ‘Cats’ advantage to seven (40-33) with 1:59 to go in the stanza.
The Bobcats entered the half with a five point lead (42-37).
Ohio shot 56 percent (18-32) in the half and forced 10 Buffalo turnovers while grabbing seven steals. Cooper led Ohio with 16 points in the stanza.
Buffalo posted the first five points of the second half to tie the game at 42, before the ‘Cats scored nine-straight to surge back in front (51-42) with 14:15 to go.
With Ohio leading 60-51, the Bulls began a 18-3 run that gave Buffalo a 69-63 lead with 3:51 remaining in the contest.
At that point, the Bobcats mounted one of their best comebacks of the season. A lay-in, then a free throw on the following possession by Keely cut the Buffalo lead to three (69-66). After a Cooper free throw, the Bobcats trailed by two (69-67) with 2:02 left.
After a big defensive stop, Cooper knocked down the big 3-pointer to give Ohio the lead (70-69) and after a key defensive stop – highlighted by a big Keely block – the Bobcats regained possession and held on for the win.
Ohio now has seven conference road wins for the first time since the 1985-86 season. It’s the first time the ‘Cats have notched seven MAC road victories during a 16-game league schedule. It’s also the first time in program history that Ohio has finished 7-1 in MAC road games.
Ohio wraps up the regular season with a 4 p.m. contest against rival Miami on Saturday (March 9) at 4 p.m. The game will be broadcast locally on SportsTime Ohio and across the nation on ESPN3. Michael Reghi will handle play-by-play duties while Dave Cecutti will provide color commentary.
In addition, “Voice of the Bobcats” Russ Eisenstein and Rob Cornelius will call the action on the Ohio IMG Sports Network powered by Horizon, with streaming audio and video available on OhioBobcats.com.
-- GO BOBCATS! --