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Ohio Outlasts Valparaiso, 78-75

Nov. 23, 2010

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ATHENS, Ohio - Six Ohio players scored in double figures as Ohio held off Valparaiso, 78-75, when Brandon Wood's desperation three-pointer was short of the basket at the buzzer Tuesday night at The Convo.

Neither team led by more than four points in a back-and-forth second half, after each team had huge runs in the first 20 minutes.

DeVaughn Washington (Virginia Beach, Va.) scored 14 points to lead the Bobcats, and D.J. Cooper (Chicago, Ill.), who hit key free throws down the stretch, had a double-double with 13 points and 10 assists. Valparaiso's Ryan Broekhoff led all scorers with 24 points, and the Crusaders (2-2) also got 19 points from Cory Johnson and 17 points for Woods.

Tommy Freeman (Muncie, Ind.), who finished with 10 points, gave the Bobcats the lead for good at 73-70 with a three-pointer with 1:53 remaining, and he also took a pair of offensive fouls down the stretch to help maintain the edge. Ivo Baltic (Kansas City, Mo.) gave Ohio (3-1) a 74-72 advantage by making one of two free throws with 35 seconds left on the clock, and Wood missed a three-pointer that could have given Valparaiso the lead.

Instead Cooper made a pair of foul shots with 12 seconds to go, and after an off-balance Johnson three-pointer, Cooper made two more from the line to increase the Bobcats' lead to three with 2.5 seconds on the clock. Wood took the inbounds pass from just inside half-court and took a few long dribbles to the three-point line where he got off one last attempt to tie the game.

Asown Sayles (McKeesport, Pa.) connected on all three of his three-point attempts to finish with a career-high 11 points, matching the output of Baltic, who had his second straight nine-rebound game, tying a career-high. Reggie Keely (University Heights, Ohio) scored 10 points and added four rebounds.

After falling behind 3-2, Ohio scored 11 straight points to take a double-digit lead early in the game. Valpo, who entered the game as the top-scoring team in the Horizon League, started the contest 1-for-12 from the field. Meanwhile, the 'Cats started off shooting 7-for-9.

Ethan Jacobs (Tipton, Ind.) hit a pair at the line for a 15-point Ohio advantage with 4:11 remaining in the half, but Valparaiso closed the half with a 16-0 run for a one-point halftime lead. Those charity chip-ins were the first points of Jacobs' career in an Ohio uniform.

Ohio shot better from the field (49.0-41.2) but turned over the ball 17 times to only 11 times for the Crusaders. The Bobcats made 20 of 27 free throws, while their opponents were 11 of 14.

There were 16 lead changes, including 13 in the second half.

Ohio improved to 2-0 against Valpo all-time and earned the Mid-American Conference its second win over a Horizon League opponent in the 2010-11 season.

The 20 free-throw makes was a season-high, as were the six Bobcat blocks. Ohio was also a +8 on the glass which raised their average to +5.5 through the first four games of the season.

Ohio also improved to 31-3 under Head Coach John Groce when it scores 70 or more points in a contest and 16-2 at The Convo against non-conference opponents.

The Bobcats take on No. 6 Kansas at 8 p.m. Friday as part of the Las Vegas Invitational. The game will be live-streamed on ESPN3.com.

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