Calvin Mattheis | Ohio Athletics

Ohio Comes Up Short against Morehead State in CBI Semifinals

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Ohio could not overcome a rocky first half Wednesday night in a 77-72 loss to Morehead State in the CBI semifinals.

The Bobcats turned the ball over 12 times in the opening half. Against frequent double teams, they were often unable to maintain possession, and it resulted in eight first half steals for Morehead State. They also shot just 25 percent from 3-point land.

Offensive rebounds and assists were hard to come by early as Ohio only recorded two of each in the first half. Morehead State ranks third in the country in offensive rebounding, and Wednesday night, it allowed for many second chance opportunities. By halftime, the Eagles put up 20 more shots than the ‘Cats. MSU also controlled the pace of the game by forcing  turnovers, making it easier to find the open shooters.

Fouls became a huge factor in the game early on, too. Morehead State racked up 14 fouls by the end of the first 20 minutes, and Ohio shot 28 free throws by the game’s end. The Eagles converted on 91 percent of their free throw opportunities, and it played a huge role in sealing a win for them.

The second half was back-and-forth the whole way, as both teams scored almost at will and traded leads. Down five at halftime, the ‘Cats got a quick bucket from Jaaron Simmons and a Kenny Kaminski triple from the corner to tie the game up within a minute. Both teams scored efficiently down the stretch.

Corban Collins hit the Eagles’ timeliest shots as the game wound down. As Saul Phillips was swinging his arms, begging his home crowd to make some noise, Collins nailed a jumper from a few feet beyond the 3-point line to silence the Convo and give Morehead State the 68-65 lead that it never surrendered.

Collins finished with 14 points on 67 percent shooting from 3-point range. Xavier Moon led the Eagles with 18 points and made all eight of the foul shots he took. Lyonell Gaines nabbed 13 rebounds and scored 14 points, and Brent Arrington pitched in 11 points.

Simmons led all scorers Wednesday night with 21 points, 15 of which came in the second half. The versatile point guard also came down with six rebounds and dished out seven assists. Kaminski’s 3-point shooting was key in keeping the Bobcats within striking distance in the second half, and he finished with 15 points on 50 percent shooting from deep. Tony Campbell contributed eight points and pulled down 12 rebounds.

In his final collegiate game, Treg Setty recorded 20 points and five rebounds. Like his last two games on the floor of the Convo, he gutted out every last possession.

“I didn’t want it to end. I didn’t want it to end here,” Setty said. “I could write a book about my experience here at OU. Not in my wildest dreams could I imagine being a part of what I was a part of. I’m going to be a part of this program vicariously in the future.”

As the season comes to a close, Ohio will return many familiar faces next year, and after a remarkable turnaround from the  2014-2015season, Phillips was pleased with the way his team performed in his second year at the helm.

“It was a tremendous stride forward for us,” Phillips said. “It was really, really, really, really fun fun to coach this group. I was hoping this wasn’t a ‘year away’ type of thing. I was hoping it was this year, and I really appreciate the effort this group put in all year long.”