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Ohio Men's Basketball Drops Heartbreaker To Central Michigan In Double Overtime

Ohio Men's Basketball Drops Heartbreaker To Central Michigan In Double Overtime


By Mike Ashcraft

Box Score (PDF)

ATHENS, Ohio -- The Ohio men's basketball team (9-13, 2-8 MAC) dropped a 101-98 heartbreaker to Mid-American Conference West Division foe Central Michigan (15-8, 4-6 MAC) in double overtime on Saturday (Feb. 3) at the Convocation Center.

The Bobcats led for 42:31 and scored 98 points off of 50.7 percent (36-of-71) shooting from the field and a season-high 24 assists but could not overcome a 16-of-31 (51.6 percent) effort from the free throw line.

"Tough way to drop one," said fourth-year head coach Saul Phillips. "Sixteen-of-thirty one from the line for the game. Should've never got to overtime. Thought we did everything we needed to execute offensively. We weren't able to finish off possessions and make free-throws. Offensively, that's the best we've looked in some time. Fifty-one percent from the field. We hit 36 field goals, 24 were off of assists. That's a boat load, and the assists kind of came from everywhere. I thought the guys who were out there tonight played really, really hard. I wish I could've figured out a way for them to get a W."

The Chippewas were able to cash in on their opportunities at the free throw line, making 31 of 36 attempts at the charity stripe.

"We missed our free throws. They made theirs," said senior guard Mike Laster. "We shot 16 for 30-some, and they shot a real high number from the free throw line. It's not really a good feeling."

All five Ohio starters finished in double figures. Freshman guard Teyvion Kirk (Joliet, Ill.) scored a career-high 24 points before fouling out with 1:26 to play in regulation. He went 7-of-13 from the floor with a trey and made nine free throws en route to finishing in double figures for a team-high 20th time this season -- including each of the last 14 contests. He posted his second-straight outing with at least 20 points and fourth of the year. Kirk also chipped in six rebounds, three steals and two assists in 36 minutes. Laster also finished with 24 points, posting at least 20 points in a game for a team-high sixth time this season. He shot 8-of-13 from field with four triples. Laster also dished out three assists, grabbed a rebound and collected a steal over 46 minutes of work. Junior guard/forward Gavin Block (Lincoln, Ill.) shot 6-of-13 from the floor with two threes en route to a 16-point effort. He also hauled in eight rebounds, dished out five assists, blocked a shot and recorded a steal in 43 minutes. Junior forward Doug Taylor (Columbus, Ohio) achieved his second career double-double with 14 points off of 7-of-10 shooting and grabbed a team-high 10 boards. He also handed out three assists and blocked a shot over 37 minutes of action. Redshirt sophomore guard James Gollon (Stevens Point, Wis.) went 5-of-10 with a pair of treys en route to 13 points. He also grabbed six rebounds, dished out a career-high five assists and matched his career high with three steals in 43 minutes.

"We're not happy we lost at all, but we made a huge stride today," said Kirk. "We were struggling offensively. Today we emphasized passing the ball and reversing it. Playing together. We had some success there."

Central Michigan was led by senior forward Cecil Williams, who scored a game-high 27 points after shooting 7-of-16 from the field with two triples and 11-of-12 from the charity stripe. He also pulled down six rebounds and finished with three steals over 45 minutes of play. Junior guard Shawn Roundtree Jr. added 22 points for the Chippewas along with dishing out six assists, grabbing three rebounds and recording a steal in 44 minutes of action. Senior forward Luke Meyer shot 4-of-7 from the field -- including three three-pointers -- to finish with 14 points. He also compiled six rebounds, two assists and two blocks in 26 minutes. Sophomore guard Kevin McKay contributed 13 points after shooting 6-of-8 from the floor and also chipped in seven rebounds, three assists, three steals and two blocks in 34 minutes of work off of the bench. Sophomore forward David DiLeo went 5-of-5 from the free throw line en route to eight points and pulled down a game-high 14 rebounds. He also notched three assists and a steal in 45 minutes.

The Bobcats took a 36-31 lead into halftime behind a 10-point first half by Laster, who went 3-of-5 from the floor with a pair of triples in the opening 20 minutes. As a team, Ohio shot 52 percent (13-of-25) from the field in the first half.

Ohio's lead swelled to a game-high 13 points at 55-42 after a layup by Kirk with 12:39 to go in regulation. Kirk scored 10 points in the opening 7:21 of the second half, with the highlights being a dunk off off a steal and an assist from Laster. The Chippewas got back into the contest with a barrage of three-pointers, though, as a pair of triples by senior guard Josh Kozinski bookended treys by Roundtree Jr. and Meyer, powering a 12-2 run by Central Michigan over the ensuing two-plus minutes to trim Ohio's lead down to three.

The Bobcats responded to the Chippewas' challenge by outscoring Central Michigan by a 15-8 count over the next six-plus minutes, with Taylor providing six points during the span and Gollon draining a three. Gollon was fouled with 3:17 to play and made the first free throw to put Ohio back up by 10 at 72-62. He missed the second freebie, however, and it proved to be an ominous sign of things to come for the Bobcats. Ohio missed five three throws in the final three-plus minutes of regulation, and the Chippewas made them pay with a 15-5 run in the final 3:05. DiLeo knocked down a trey to make it a seven-point game, but a layup by Gollon put Ohio back up by nine with 2:57 left. Williams drew a foul and made both his free throws to cut it to seven again, but Kirk drew contact on the Bobcats' next possession and sank both freebies to make it a nine-point affair once again with 2:37 to go. The Chippewas proceeded to outscore Ohio by a 10-1 count over the final 2:32. Four made free throws by Roundtree Jr., a layup by McKay and a dunk by Williams trimmed Ohio's lead down to two with 1:26 left. McKay then evened the score at 77-all with 29 seconds left on the clock. Ohio had an opportunity to win the game with five seconds left in regulation when Laster was fouled by DiLeo, but he misfired on both free throw attempts to send the contest to overtime. 

Ohio built up a five-point advantage in the first overtime after a dunk by Taylor, a layup by Block and a trey by Laster made it 84-79 in favor of the Bobcats with 2:29 to go. A minute later, Kozinski drilled a three to cut Central Michigan's deficit down to two, but Block drew a foul five seconds later to put Ohio back up by four. DiLeo drew a foul on Central Michigan's next possession to make it a two-point affair again, and an Ohio turnover allowed Williams to tie the score at 86-all with 38 seconds to go. It appeared as though the Bobcats were on their way to an overtime win when Laster sank a triple on Ohio's ensuing possession with 12 seconds remaining, but Williams was able to bank in a trey of his own six seconds later to send the game into a second overtime.

Central Michigan took its first lead of the game with 3:40 to go in the second overtime when Williams made a pair of free throws. Block made a layup on Ohio's next possession, but Williams evened the score by hitting two more freebies after Taylor drew his fifth foul. After Laster and Roundtree Jr. traded buckets, freshman forward A.J. Gareri (Akron, Ohio) made his first career three-pointer off an assist by freshman guard Zach Butler (Spartanburg, S.C.), who handed out a career-high five dimes, to give the Bobcats a 96-95 edge with 2:23 left. Roundtree Jr. drew a foul on Central Michigan's next possession and hit the second free throw to even the score at 96-all with two minutes to go. Meyer then gave the Chippewas a one-point lead with 1:22 left after drawing contact and sinking the second free throw. After failing to score on their next possession, the Bobcats were forced to foul Roundtree Jr. with 30 seconds to go. He made the second of his two free throws to give the Chippewas a two-point edge. Laster kept Ohio alive, though, by delivering a game-tying layup and drawing a foul by Meyer in the process with 15 seconds left to even it at 98-all. Laster had a chance to put Ohio back in front but could not cash in on the and-one opportunity. Unfortunately for the Bobcats, DiLeo drew a foul by Gareri in the act of attempting a three-pointer with a second left. DiLeo made all three of his free throws to left the Chippewas to the double-overtime victory.

"Put us in position to go up one," said Phillips of Laster's missed free throw. "I can get at him about missing a free-throw, but I can also say you created it and put yourself in that position, you just got to finish it off. I know what Mike goes through to play. I know that every possession he's worrying if that shoulder is going to pop out. You can be disappointed in a result but not mad at the kid. I told him that. When he missed the first two at the end of regulation, I tried to refocus him right away. He still made plays, at times."

Ohio hosts MAC East Division rival Akron (10-12, 3-7 MAC) next Tuesday (Feb. 6) in a 7 p.m. ET contest at the Convo. The contest will be streamed live on WatchESPN and the ESPN app.


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