Courtesy OhioBobcatTV

Men’s Basketball’s Season Ends

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Ohio’s disappointing season came to an end Monday night at the hands of David Brown and the Western Michigan Broncos, as the Bobcats fell 82-74 in their first round MAC Tournament game in Kalamazoo, Mich.

Brown, a sixth-year senior, led the Broncos (20-12, 10-8) and lit Ohio (10-20, 5-13) up for 34. The majority of Brown’s production came from behind the 3-point arc, as he went 8 of 14 from deep. Of his eight 3-pointers, none were bigger than the pair that he drained on back-to-back possessions in the second half.

Trailing by six with 12:00 to go in the game, Brown came off a double screen, caught a Thomas Wilder pass at the top of the key and fired a 3-pointer that found the bottom of the net. Then on the next possession, Brown came off a pair of screens again and sank another 3-pointer from the top of the key to tie the game at 52-52.

“We just tried to guard him by committee,” Stevie Taylor said. “We had some lulls on defense, we took some breaks, and he capitalized on them.”

With the momentum squarely in the Broncos’ favor, Brown sank a pair of free throws to give Western Michigan its first lead of the game with 9:57 left in the game. Taylor, who had 25 points Monday night, responded with a layup to tie the game at 54-54.

Both Maurice Ndour and Taylor put together impressive efforts in their final game in a Bobcat uniform. In addition to Taylor’s 25 points he also dished out five assists, and Ndour finished with a team-high 28 points togo along with his 11 rebounds.

“Coach [John] Groce told me my freshman year that the season is broken up into three different seasons, and I knew this was a new start for me and I just wanted to leave it out there for my guys and my coaches,” Taylor said.

The two teams traded baskets and leads for much of the second half until Ndour failed to convert a free throw after an and-one layup. With Western Michigan leading 67-66, Wilder converted a layup to give the Broncos a three point lead. On the following possession, a missed layup by Taylor led to a Western Michigan 3-on-1, which in turn, led to an open Brown 3-pointer.

After Brown’s transition 3-pointer, the closest the Bobcats came was six points, as the Broncos closed the game out with free throws.

“We would have loved to go to Cleveland, but that’s not happening, so I just hope they can look back on this game and learn from it and get ready for next year,” Ndour said.

Despite leading 18-4 seven minutes into the game, the Bobcats only held a two point lead at halftime. Much like Ohio’s last game, the Bobcats’ quick start could be attributed to two of its seniors.

This time, however, it was Ndour and Taylor instead of Ndour and Bean Willis.

“Offensively, I thought we played well enough to win…got off to a blazing start,” Ohio head coach Saul Phillips explained.

The pair combined for 15 of the team’s first 18 points. Unlike its last game, though, Western Michigan responded to Ohio’s quick start. The team gained some momentum when senior David Brown drained a deep 3-pointer to make it 18-7. Western Michigan may have still trailed by double digits, but that 3-pointer energized both the team and the fans.

Up until that point the Broncos had been forced to settle for perimeter jump shots almost every time down, and up until that point, that had problems making them, starting the game 2 for 11. After that Western shot 9 of 22 for the rest of the half.