Ohio Bobcats guard/forward Gavin Block (22) Photo Credit: Sarah Stier – Ohio Athletics

Ohio Sets Sights on Buffalo with Title Hopes on the Line

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The Ohio Bobcats will take on the Buffalo Bulls Friday night in the semifinals of the Mid-American Conference basketball tournament.

Ohio (21-10) is the two seed in the tournament while Buffalo (18-14) is the three seed.

The Bobcats are coming off a 79-62 dismantling of the Northern Illinois Huskies on Thursday night. Ohio led by as many as 24 in the game. All five starters scored in double figures for Ohio. Redshirt sophomore point guard Jaaron Simmons led the way for Ohio with 16 points and 11 assists.

The Bulls defeated the Miami Redhawks 94-81 in the quarterfinals of the MAC tournament Thursday night. For the sixth time this year, Buffalo scored more than 90 points in a game. Willie Connor scored a game high 25 points in the win and Blake Hamilton grabbed 16 rebounds. The Bulls shot 11-25 (44 percent) from behind the arc and shot 50 percent from the field.

“Ohio’s maybe the best shooting team in the league right now,” Bulls head coach Nate Oats said after the victory over Miami. “They were on fire today. Ohio’s not a team you’re going to hold down in the 50’s; you’re going to have to put some points up. Hopefully our shooting will continue.”

These two teams met on February 27, in Athens, Ohio. They combined to score 199 points in a 103-96, overtime thriller. Simmons was virtually unguardable in the game, registering 31 points, eight assists and only two turnovers. On his senior day, Treg Setty had a career day chipping in 24 points and nine rebounds. Connor and Hamilton combined for 50 points and 13 rebounds for the Bulls who collectively as a team shot 45 percent from the field.

Buffalo was called for 36 fouls, leading to Ohio shooting season-high 49 free throws. They made 35 of those 49 attempts.

Ohio has had some success in the semifinal of the MAC tournament since it has moved to Cleveland. Ohio has won four of their last five semifinal games and has not lost since 2006.

Ohio averaged 98.5 points per game in their two contests. They look to continue that high scoring on Friday. Tipoff will be 30 minutes after the completion of the Akron vs. Bowling Green semifinal game. Expect the game to start around 9p.m.