Calvin Mattheis | Ohio Athletics

Bobcats Torched By NCAA’s Leading Scorer Keene

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After Saturday’s victory over Akron, talk was about Jaaron Simmons and how he played one of the greatest games the Convocation Center has ever seen. Then Central Michigan and Marcus Keene showed up and changed everything.

Keene dropped a beyond-the-arc filled 41 points to lift the Chippewas over Ohio 97-87. Keene, the leading scorer in the NCAA, was a human “heat check” after going 9-of-18 from three and 15-of-25 overall from the field.

The 3-pointers from Keene were consistently daggers for the Bobcats. Before Central Michigan broke away at the end, Ohio was down but within reach. Every time Ohio made a play, Keene responded a better play and a finger over his lips to hush the crowd.

As Ohio coach Saul Phillips said after the game, the Bobcats were “off” during the game, but did not look like a team that was checked out. Simmons put on another masterful performance with 30 points, nine rebounds and nine assists, but that does not matter to the team.

“It doesn’t matter. Stats don’t matter,” Simmons said. “We lost. That’s what matters.”

Ohio had a six-point lead after Gavin Block nailed a three with 12:44 left in the first half. The lead quickly disappeared and Ohio never led again.

Shots behind the arc were all that mattered for Ohio and Central Michigan. The teams combined for 32 made shots beyond the arc and both teams attempted more threes than two-point shots.

Braylon Rayson added 21 points for Central Michigan. Rayson attacked the Bobcats when attention was on Keene, but Rayson is no slouch on his own. Jordan Dartis was his own addition for Ohio, putting in 21 points of his own.

With his fifth game of the season scoring over 40 points, Keene passed Stephen Curry and Jimmer Fredette for most 40-point games in a season over the past 10 years.

Ohio (14-8, 6-5) visits Ball State on Friday as conference play winds down before the tournament.

Central Michigan (16-8, 6-5) will go to Oxford on Saturday to visit the Miami Redhawks.