March 13, 2010
CLEVELAND, Ohio-Ohio's Armon Bassett had another monster game in the semifinals of the Mid-American Conference Tournament, powering the ninth-seeded Bobcats to a 54-42 win over fourth-seeded Miami Friday evening in Quicken Loans Arena.
Bassett erupted for 28 points (15-18 FT), giving him a MAC Tournament-record 91 points and 42 free throws during the Bobcats' run past Ball State, Kent State and Miami.
Ohio improved to 20-14 overall and advanced to Saturday evening's MAC title matchup with third-seeded Akron at 6 p.m. on ESPN2. The RedHawks dropped to 14-18 overall.
DeVaughn Washington chipped in with 18 points and shared the team's top rebounding honors at seven with Kenneth van Kempen. D.J. Cooper had a team-high four assists.
Miami was led by Kenny Hayes' 12 points, Adam Fletcher's nine rebounds and Julian Mavunga's four assists.
The Bobcats got out of the gate quickly, but it wasn't with their offense. Ohio took five charges in the first six and a half minutes of the game and built a 14-point lead (21-7) when Cooper hit a jumper in the paint with 2:54 left in the half.
Bassett was Ohio's leading scorer with 12 points, including a 6-7 clip from the free throw line. Washington and van Kempen had three rebounds. Miami's Hayes led the RedHawks with five points and four rebounds, an honor he shared with Winbush. Neither team shot well in the first half, as Ohio made six of 22 shots (27.3 percent) from the field, while Miami made just five of 20 (25 percent).
The Bobcats steadily built a lead in the second half, and notched a 20-point bulge (46-26) when van Kempen nailed a jumper with 5:21 left. Miami responded with a 14-2 run in the next three minutes and change to cut the lead to eight (48-40). Ohio then came back with six straight free throws to put the game on ice.
The loss was Miami's 15th straight this season when shooting the same or worse percentage than its opponent. It was also Miami's first loss this season when holding the opponent to 60 points or less.
There will be a pregame reception at Zocalo (2071 East 4th Street), beginning at 3 p.m. All Ohio fans are encouraged to attend. Complimentary appetizers and non-alcoholic beverages will be provided.
With the victory over Miami, Ohio advances to the championship game of the MAC tournament to be played Saturday at 6 p.m. against Miami. A ticket for this game is $32. Student tickets are $10 with a valid student ID. The Ohio table will be set up at the main entrance to the Arena. By purchasing a ticket at the Ohio table, you will sit in the Ohio fan section and help Ohio reach its mandatory ticket allotment set by the MAC. Come cheer on the Bobcats toward their drive to the NCAA Tournament!