BALTIMORE – The Ohio University men’s basketball team (3-1) overcame a late second half deficit to grind out a 65-62 victory over Morgan State (0-4) Wednesday evening at Hill Field House.
The Bobcats trailed for most of the contest and were behind by four points (56-52) with eight minutes to go. But Ohio rallied to take a 60-58 lead with three minutes to play and broke a 60-60 tie on a three-point play from junior guard Stevie Taylor (Gahanna, Ohio) with two seconds remaining. The game-clinching bucket sent Ohio home with its first road victory of the season.
After shooting just 34.6 percent (9-26) in the first half, Ohio put together a much-improved 52.2 percent clip (12-23) in the second half to surge ahead for the win. The Bobcats held Morgan State to a 37.3 percent (22-59) mark from the floor and a 23.5 percent clip (4-17) from 3-point territory.
Ohio has now held all four opponents under 30 percent shooting from beyond the arc this season.
Junior forward Maurice Ndour (Mbour, Senegal led the Bobcats with 13 points and eight rebounds, including two big buckets down the stretch to help Ohio take the lead. Fellow junior Javarez Willis (Homer, La.) put together his best game in a Bobcat uniform, with 11 points off the bench on 4-of-6 shooting.
Taylor added nine points in 23 minutes of action, while senior forward Jon Smith (Grove City, Ohio) posted all nine of his points in the second half to go along with a team-high three blocks on the night.
Morgan State posted nine of the first 13 points of the contest, before Ohio answered with an 8-1 run to take a 12-10 lead with 9:24 to go in the first half. From there, Morgan State put together an 11-1 surge to build an eight point lead (21-13), and Ohio played catch up for much of the final minutes of the stanza.
The Bobcats cut the lead to three (22-19) on two free throws from senior guard/forward T.J. Hall (Gainesville, Fla.) with 3:47 to play in the half. The Green & White closed to within one (31-30) entering the break after Ndour found sophomore Treg Setty (Maysville, Ky.) for a lay-in as time expired in the frame.
Ohio took its first lead of the second half (40-39) on a 3-pointer from senior Travis Wilkins (Springfield, Mo.), but Morgan State rallied to take a four-point lead (50-46) at the 10:47 mark of the stanza. With the Bears up 56-52, the Bobcats began to mount their comeback.
A lay-in from Smith and free throws from senior guard Nick Kellogg (Westerville, Ohio) gave Ohio a 57-56 lead with 4:30 to play. The Bears re-took the lead at 58-56, before Ndour drained a three from the top of the key (3:09) to give Ohio a lead (60-58) it would never relinquish.
The Bears’ Anthony Hubbard tied the score at 62-62 with 38 seconds to play, but the clutch 3-point play from Taylor with time winding down clinched the game for Ohio. After not winning a non-conference road game last season, the Green & White are now 1-1 on the road this season.
The Bobcats now return to Athens for a three-game homestand inside the Convocation Center. Ohio starts it off Saturday (Nov. 23) with a match-up against Heidelberg at 2 p.m.