Cozart, Lutz Lead Bulldogs against Buckeyes

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The Athens Bulldogs (6-6, 4-2) have reached the .500 mark for the first time this season after defeating the Nelsonville-York Buckeyes (3-8, 1-4) 71-47.

Athens dominated the game from the tip-off to the final buzzer, winning each quarter by at least four points. Nine players scored for the Bulldogs, which pleased Coach Jeff Skinner to see his bench players step up.

Three-point shooting was key for the Bulldogs in the first half; Athens hit 5-10, including four straight from sophomore Dalton Cozart. Griffin Lutz picked up Cozart’s scoring burst with 15 of his own in the second-half, finishing the game with a near triple-double: 25 points, nine rebounds, and seven assists.

The Bulldogs outworked the Buckeyes on the boards, including on the offensive side of the ball. Athens totaled 13 offensive rebounds, leading to countless second chance opportunities.

Free-throws have been an issue for Athens all year, and it continued against the Buckeyes. The team combined for 8-19 from the line which was slightly less than their three-point percentage for the game.     

The Buckeyes were led by juniors Hunter Edwards and Aron Davis who combined for 27 of Nelsonville-York’s 47 points. Edwards added three steals in the first-half to help the Buckeyes stay within ten. Davis was one of the few Buckeyes who were active on the boards, totaling seven rebounds.

Athens has begun to find its stride after starting the season with four losses. Losses to Vinton County and Meigs put it in an early 0-2 hole in the TVC-Ohio, but four straight conference wins, including a rivalry game against Alexander, have put it back into third in the division.

Nelsonville-York has now lost eight straight after beginning the year with three wins. The Buckeyes travel to Wellston on Friday as the Golden Rockets look to get their first win in conference play. Meanwhile, the Bulldogs have a week to figure out their free-throw woes; they host New Lexington next Tuesday.