ATHENS, Ohio – Behind a balanced scoring attack and strong defensive effort, the Ohio University men’s basketball team (7-2) surged past visiting Alabama A&M (3-5) by the score of 72-47 Saturday afternoon inside the Convocation Center.
Junior forward Maurice Ndour (Mbour, Senegal), junior guard Javarez Willis (Homer, La.) and senior guard T.J. Hall (Gainesville, Fla.) each posted 12 points to pace the Ohio offense, while Ndour added six rebounds and four blocks in another stellar defensive effort. Hall added four rebounds and two steals, while Willis tied a season-high with four assists in 22 minutes off the bench.
Ohio put forth one of its strongest defensive efforts of the 2013-14 campaign, by limiting the Bulldogs to season lows by a Bobcat opponent in points (47), field goals made (15) and field goal percentage (15-54, .278). The Bobcats also swatted nine shots and made 11 steals while holding strong advantages in points off turnovers (24-12) and fast break points (14-0).
The Bobcats connected on 50 percent of their shots (24-48) in the game and made 15 assists on the day. Ohio worked the ball well down low while holding a 36-8 edge in points in the paint against the Bulldogs’ sizable front line. Behind Hall and Willis, the Bobcats also were +14 (40-26) in bench scoring in the contest.
Ohio is 5-0 when it wins the bench scoring battle this season.
A pair of bigs also played well for the Green & White, as senior forward Jon Smith (Grove City, Ohio) notched eight points, seven rebounds and three blocks, while freshman forward Antonio Campbell (Covington, Ky.) added career highs in points (6) and rebounds (7) in 11 minutes off the bench.
After the teams battled back and forth over the first six minutes of action, a 3-pointer from Willis gave Ohio a four-point lead (11-7) at the 13:37 mark of the first half. From there, the ‘Cats put together an impressive 14-0 run – highlighted by nine points from Hall – to move ahead by 16 at 30-14 with 5:29 to play in the period.
The Green & White entered the break ahead by 15 (37-22).
The lead increased to 21 (54-33) with 10:45 to play in the game and Ohio went ahead by as many as 25 (65-40) on free throws by Willis with five minutes to play. Ohio held the Bulldogs without a field goal over the final 4:48 to keep Alabama A&M under 50 points for the game.
Senior guard Nick Kellogg (Westerville, Ohio) scored his 1,000th career point late in the second half and is now one of just 36 players in Ohio history to accomplish the feat.
Ohio returns to action on Wednesday (Nov. 18) against No. 22/20 Massachusetts at 7 p.m. inside the Convocation Center. The Minutemen will be the highest ranked team to descend upon the Convo since No. 6 Kentucky invaded Athens on Dec. 30, 1997.