Instant Reaction: Ohio 78, Kent State 75 (OT)

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Final (OT)

Ohio Bobcats: 78

Walter Offutt: 17 points, 3 steals, 9-11 free throws

D.J. Cooper: 13 points, 7 assists, fouled out with 31 seconds left in overtime

Kent State Golden Flashes: 75

Chris Evans: 18 points, 14 rebounds, 7-12 field goals

Kris Brewer: 14 points, 5 assists

Rise and Shine

Ohio and Kent State tipped off at 11:02 a.m. for the earliest start time in the country. The early game time appeared to have no effect on the Bobcats, as Ohio showed more energy than the Golden Flashes in the opening minutes of the game. A T.J. Hall 3-pointer sandwiched in between two Reggie Keely buckets gave Ohio a 7-1 lead in the first two minutes.

Cold Spell

After the hot start, the Ohio made just one of its next 13 shots from the field. The Bobcats were just 9-of-25 overall in the first half of play. Kent State didn’t fare any better, shooting just 31 percent.

What Goes Around Comes Around

Ohio ended the first half much like it began the game, outscoring the Golden Flashes 15-3 in the final five minutes before the break. During that stretch, Walter Offutt poured in 6 points and Cooper registered another 6. The two teamed up for some last-second drama, as Offut picked up a steal with five seconds remaining and fed to Cooper for a 28-foot contested 3 that danced around the rim before falling at the buzzer.

Keep it Going

The Bobcats retained the momentum from the first half into the first few minutes of the second, as a 5-0 Ohio run forced a Kent State timeout just 51 seconds into the half. The Bobcats built a 15-point lead within the first five minutes of the second frame and held a lead of at least 9 through the 8:00 mark.

A Quiet Comeback

Kent State put together a 12-0 run over the next three minutes to climb back into the game and take the lead against a complacent Ohio team. Chris Evans had 6 points for Kent State during that stretch to give the Golden Flashes a lift.

Down to the Wire

The two teams traded buckets, turnovers and foul shots down the stretch to a tie game with less than one minute to go. At that point, Kent State got a stop and gained possession with 31 seconds left. The Golden Flashes ran a play, but forward Mark Henniger threw the ball away on a failed off-ball screen attempt. With 3.4 seconds to go, Cooper got the ensuing inbound pass and launched from half court for the win. His shot hit backboard, then iron, but did not fall, forcing overtime.

Down to the Wire, Part Deux

In Ohio’s first overtime game of the season, the two teams traded scores to a 1-point Kent State lead with a minute left. On the next possession, Kent State guard Kris Brewer avoided a near over-and-back at half court then drove and drew Cooper’s fifth foul of the game. Brewer hit 1-of-2 to give the Flashes a 75-74 lead. Ohio called a 30 second timeout.

In … Stevie We Trust?

Out of the timeout, Ohio ran a play that sent Offutt to the basket off a pass from Ivo Baltic. Kent State sent hard help from the perimeter, and Offutt dished out to a wide-open Stevie Taylor. The backup point guard pulled the trigger with 13 second left and swooshed the go-ahead 3 to give Ohio the lead. Kent State guard Randal Holt turned the ball over in a rush to score, and Nick Kellogg layed in at the other end for seal the deal.

A Humble Exchange Between Taylor and a Reporter in the Post-Game Presser

Reporter: “I’m sure a lot of people in the stands are thinking, ‘Man Cooper’s out, we’re in trouble.’ What are you thinking?”

Taylor: “I got to step up. That’s my role on this team, to back up Coop. And that’s what I do at a high level. I take pride in that.”

Reporter: “Was that the biggest shot you hit in your life?”

Taylor: “I would have to say so, yes.”

Reporter: laughs “I would think it would be kind of scary getting mobbed after the game, was that you getting thrown up in the air?”

Taylor: “Yeah, it was. I’m kind of used to that, they do that whenever I don’t even hit a shot.”

Reporter: “Why do they pick you?

Taylor: “That’s my role on the team." Whole room laughs. "I’m a little guy. Coach tells me that all time. (I) can’t be walking around like, ‘I’m big.’ I’m not.”