Updated Tue, Mar 4, 2014 10:15 pm
After having its senior day ruined by Kent State, Ohio set out to do the same against Bowling Green Wednesday. The Bobcats accomplished that goal, defeating the Falcons 72-61.
In the first half, the Falcons surprisingly elected to play man-to-man defense against the Bobcats after shutting them down with a 2-3 zone in their previous matchup. The Bobcats were happy to see the man-to-man defense, shooting 57.8 percent from the field and 55.6 percent from 3-point range.
Trailing 15-14, Nick Kellogg got to the line and knocked down a pair of free throws, giving Ohio the lead and igniting a 20-7 run to close out the half. That run saw Kellogg knock down a step-back 3-pointer along with a pair of impressive plays from Antonio Campbell.
Campbell, who filled in for injured forward Maurice Ndour (back), denied a post entry and then ran the floor for a one-handed flush that was set up by Travis Wilkins to give Ohio a 24-15 lead.
Then several possessions later, Campbell drained an open 3-pointer from the top of the key after setting a screen for Javarez “Bean” Willis. While it’s difficult to say that Ndour’s presence wasn’t missed at all, Campbell’s strong play certainly made things easier for Ohio. The Kentucky native scored a career-high 11 points to go along with four rebounds and two steals.
With Stevie Taylor playing few minutes due to his leg fracture, Ohio looked for Willis to step up. The junior point guard responded by playing arguably his best game as a Bobcat. Willis scored 16 points, dished out five assists and grabbed three rebounds.
The most impressive part of Willis’ performance was his ability to make plays when Bowling Green threatened to make a run. After the Falcons scored five quick points to open up the second half, Willis finished a layup to give Ohio a 35-26 lead.
Then on the following possession, Williss drained one of his four 3-pointers on the night to push Ohio’s lead out to 38-26. The Bobcats held a double-digit lead for the majority of the second half.
However, near the end of the game, the Falcons began to threaten Ohio’s lead. The Bobcats then turned to senior leader Nick Kellogg, who delivered a bounce-back performance after his two-point outing on senior night against Kent State. Kellogg closed out the game by scoring 11 of his game-high 25 points in the final five minutes of action.
The senior guard was considerably more aggressive Tuesday, attacking the basket and getting to the line often. With 1:09 left in the game and Ohio’s lead down to seven, Kellogg drove to the hoop and finished through contact for an and-one. He then converted the free throw attempt to give Ohio a 68-58 lead.
After dropping two straight games and falling out of the fourth seed, Ohio bounced back and proved it is still a threat in the MAC by going on the road and handily defeating a Bowling Green team that already beaten the ‘Cats this season.