Bobcats’ forward Kelly Karlis charges past Western Michigan defenders on Wednesday, January 25, 2017. (WOUB / Drake S. Withers)

Bobcats Earn Close Victory Against Conference Powerhouse Ball State

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The Ohio Bobcats traveled to Muncie, Indiana to play the Ball State Cardinals and walked out of Worthen Arena as the second team in the Mid-American Conference to beat the Cardinals at home this season with a 72-68 victory.

An all-around team effort was needed to win against a Cardinal team that came into today #1 in the MAC. The Bobcats answered this call with five players scoring in double-digits.  Kelly Karlis and Yamonie Jenkins lead the way with 15 points each, a career-high for Karlis.

Quiera Lampkins had 14 points and five rebounds. Freshman Amani Burke tied her career-high with 13 points off the bench and Taylor Agler added 10 points and nine assists.

The 3-point shot was the biggest offensive weapon for Ohio, as two-thirds of their points came from long range. They shot 45.7% overall from beyond the arc.

Ohio started very slow offensively, trailing 18-8 with 2:18 left in the first quarter. The slow start didn’t last long as the Bobcats went on a 24-4 run which led to a 32-22 advantage midway through the second quarter.

Ohio owned this period, outscoring Ball State by 10 points and went into halftime with a 36-30 advantage. This stretch gave them the confidence that proved critical later in the game.

The second half proved to be competitive, especially in the last quarter with Ball State fighting back after surrendering an early lead. They went on a run and gained a 63-62 lead with 3:29 left in the game, following Renee Bennett’s free-throw makes.

Bennett was the Cardinals biggest offensive force, leading all scorers with 27 points.

This Cardinal lead, however, only lasted for 17 seconds.

Karlis and Jenkins responded with triples that gave Ohio a 68-63 lead with under 50 seconds. The Bobcats were able to make enough attempts from the foul line to hold on.

This balanced effort and potent offense are features the team hopes to continue with just six regular-season games remaining before the MAC tournament begins.

The Bobcats (18-5, 9-3) hope to continue the hot shooting when they face Central Michigan in the Convocation Center on Wednesday. Tipoff is 7:00 p.m.