Ohio Men Drop OT Contest At Evansville

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The Ohio men’s basketball team has a thing for close games. After four straight games decided by 10 points or less, the Bobcats forced overtime in Evansville after a Bean Willis three-pointer tied the game at 69 apiece. Then overtime happened.

The Bobcats (3-4) were outscored 12-0 during the extra period as they fell 81-69 to the Purple Aces (8-2). Ohio missed its last nine attempts from the field, all coming during the five bonus minutes. On the other hand, Evansville converted on six straight free throws in overtime to go along with 3-of-5 shooting.

Ohio had trouble stopping the junior duo of Egidijus Mockevicius and D.J. Balentine all game. Balentine finished with a game-high 23 points, including six in overtime. He added eight rebounds and six assists for an impressive all-around game. Mockevicius churned out a double-double of 16 points and 10 boards, helping the Purple Aces control the paint.

Ohio seniors Willis and Maurice Ndour picked up technical fouls early in the first half, but the Bobcats still started strong. Ndour racked up five points and five rebounds just less than nine minutes into the game, as Ohio led 15-13. His presence inside was strong; he finished with a double-double of his own with 14 points and 12 rebounds.

Both teams were fairly evenly matched on the floor. The separation came at the free throw line. The Bobcats attempted just three shots from the charity stripe, compared to 28 by the Purple Aces. Evansville was getting to the line consistently throughout the game, whereas Ohio settled for more jump shots.

Evansville’s aggressiveness going to the rim caused some foul trouble for the Green and White. All four of Ohio’s post players finished with at least four fouls. Antonio Campbell and Treg Setty each fouled out.

The Bobcats didn’t move the ball very well, as they assisted on only 10 of their 29 field goals. Compare that with Evansville’s 21 assists on 27 field goals. The Aces clearly established a better rhythm on the offensive end.

Ohio had a shot at the win but ultimately couldn’t find enough on either end of the court once the regulation buzzer rang. After that, the Purple Aces controlled the game in every aspect as they finished off the visitors.

The Bobcats now head to Hawaii for the Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic. Their first matchup of the competition will be against George Washington at 2:30 p.m. on Dec. 22.