March 13, 2010
MAC Championship Game Photo Gallery
CLEVELAND, Ohio-Ohio's backcourt of Armon Bassett and D.J. Cooper combined for 48 of Ohio's 81 points as the ninth-seeded Bobcats scored a historic win for the program, downing top-seeded Akron 81-75 in overtime Saturday evening in the Mid-American Conference championship game.
The win clinched Ohio's fifth MAC Tournament victory. The previous triumphs were 1983, 1985, 1994, 2005.
Ohio improved to 21-14 and will now await its seeding in the 2010 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament. The bracket will be announced Sunday at 6 p.m. ET on CBS. Akron dropped to 24-10.
Bassett was named Tournament MVP after scoring 25 Saturday on 8-16 field goal shooting. He was named Tournament MVP after averaging 29 points per game. His 116 points and 49 free throws also set a MAC Tourney record. Cooper shook off earlier struggles in the tournament to record 23 points on five 3-pointers, with seven rebounds and six assists. Kenneth van Kempen, Ohio's all-time leader in games played, chipped in 10 and a team-high nine rebounds.
Bassett became Ohio's fourth Tournament MVP after Leon Williams (2005), Gary Trent (1994) and John Devereaux (1983) also snared the honor.
Eastern Michigan's Carlos Medlock, Western Michigan's David Kool, Akron's Jimmy Conyers and Chris McKnight joined Bassett on the All-Tournament team.
Akron was let by Conyers' 19 points and 12 rebounds, while Chris McKnight also recorded a double-double with 18 points and 10 boards. Steve McNees had 12 points, all of which came on four crucial 3-pointers.
The two teams slugged it out toe-to-toe in the first half, as the game was tied six times before Cooper hit a driving layup at the halftime horn to give the Bobcats a 36-34 lead.
Ohio tried to put the game away in regulation when it broke a 57-all tie with a layup by Asown Sayles with 6:09 left. The Bobcats held Akron at bay right down to the final seconds of regulation, and went up by three on two Bassett free throws with 13 seconds left. However, McNees, just as he did in the MAC Quarterfinals against sixth-seeded Eastern Michigan, buried a fall-away 3-pointer to send the game into overtime at 68.
Akron never led in overtime, but did tie it twice on a layup by Chris McKnight (70-all) and another McNees long-range bomb (75-all) with 1:42 left. However, Cooper responded with two free throws and Bassett slammed home the exclamation point with a breakaway jam to give the Bobcats its thrilling victory.
The game saw 13 ties and 24 lead changes in all. Akron won the rebounding battle 48-42.
NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament ticket information will be released after Sunday's NCAA Selection Show (6 p.m. ET on CBS). Ticket allotments are determined by the NCAA and will be limited. All fans can place orders, but Ohio Bobcat Club members will have priority. To join the Bobcat Club, please call (740) 593-1176. The deadline to purchase tickets is Tuesday, March 16 at 12 p.m. ET. Stay tuned to OhioBobcats.com for all announcements concerning Ohio's upcoming trip to the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament.