ATHENS, Ohio - Junior forward Maurice Ndour scored a game-high 23 points and pulled down 11 rebounds to lead the Ohio University men's basketball team (5-1) to a 76-67 victory Tuesday night at the Convocation Center over visiting Mercer (4-3).
The outstanding effort and was Ndour's first double-double of his young Ohio career. The Mbour, Senegal, native made 7-of-12 field goal attempts and 7-of-8 free throws in 33 minutes of action.
The Bobcats fell behind Mercer 18-9 in the early minutes of the game, but out-scored the visitors 67-49 for the remainder of the game to secure victory. The Bobcats used a 30-12 run to close out the first half that featured 14 made free throws.
The home team came out of the halftime locker room 18-7 run to build the lead to 20 at 57-37, and the Bears could not move closer than eight points for the remainder of the game.
Ohio was outshot from the floor by Mercer (43.1-37.9), but was able to make up the difference by going 27-of-32 (season-best 84.4 percent) from the free throw line. The Bobcats also outrebounded the Bears 42-30, which led to a 20-10 lead in second-chance points. Mercer came into the game holding a +9.8 rebounding margin on the season.
Senior Jon Smith (Grove City, Ohio) nearly matched Ndour's double-double with 16 points and nine rebounds, including an impressive seven offensive boards. The shot blocker also added two swats and now has 13 on the season.
The two blocks gave Smith 106 in his career, which moved him past Gary Trent and into seventh on the Ohio all-time blocks list.
Senior Nick Kellogg (Westerville, Ohio) contributed 12 points and shot 2-of-3 from beyond arc, while junior Stevie Taylor (Gahanna, Ohio) added seven points and a team-high four assists. Senior T.J. Hall (Gainesville, Fla.) gave the Bobcats 11 points and four rebounds off the bench.
The Bobcats wrap up the Ohio Classic with a Saturday (Nov. 30) matchup against Evansville at 2 p.m. inside the Convocation Center.