Jason Carter makes the play of the night as he beats two defenders at the baseline and finishes with a slam dunk during Ohio University’s game against Toledo at the Convocation Center in Athens, Ohio on Tuesday, January 25, 2017. (Daniel Linhart/WOUB)

Second-Half Spark by Carter Pushes Bobcats to Victory

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Bobcat forward Jason Carter slips past a Bowling Green defender along the baseline, his teammate Jordan Dartis finds Carter open underneath the basket for a one-handed slam.

If the Bobcats wanted to make a statement in the second half, that was the best way to begin it.

That dunk was the catalyst for what became a 14-6 run in the first three minutes of the second half—Carter had nine of those points. He eventually finished with 19 points and five rebounds in Ohio’s 95-75 win over Bowling Green on Saturday.

Perhaps the most telling stat of the type of game Carter had is that he shot 9-for-11 from the field after starting 1-for-3. He made his final eight shots of the game.

“When Jason has a run like that this team responds,” Ohio head coach Saul Phillips said. “He was pretty special for a freshman tonight.”

But it was not the amount of points or rebounds Carter had that was important, instead it was the various ways he was able to impact the game. Carter, a freshman from Johnstown, Ohio, contributed in a multitude of ways. A turnaround hook from the baseline, an emphatic dunk over a Bowling Green player, a deep corner 3-pointer, and even a block where he pinned the ball on the backboard.

“We came out in the second half and hit them with our best punch,” Carter said. “We had some great play calls and the ball ended up in my hands. After that, we were just playing.”

Carter’s presence on the floor ultimately opened up the offense for Jaaron Simmons.

“The story begins and ends with Jason and Jaaron,” Phillips said. “I thought we may utilize Jason more in the second half and, boy, he came out and put on a show.”

While Carter helped the run start, it was Simmons who helped it continue. With 12 minutes remaining in the half, Simmons already notched his fourth double-double of the season with 15 points and 10 assists.

He finished the game with a game-high 26 points and 11 assists.

“Simmons is a load,” Bowling Green head coach Michael Huger said. “He proved it then and he had a great game tonight. He’s the best point guard in the league, by far, in my opinion.”

A part of what makes Simmons such an effective point guard is his ability to facilitate an offense that puts the defense back onto its heels.

“Our goal is to move the ball a lot and put a lot of pressure on the defense, whether that is with the pass or drive,” Simmons said. “Today I felt like we did it with a little bit of both.”

And he is correct. Ohio scored 48 of their 95 points in the paint while also shooting 46 percent from outside the arc.

When the Falcons trimmed the Bobcat lead to 10, Simmons then took over. In the next five minutes of the game, he scored 11 points and put the game out of reach for Bowling Green.

This victory gives the Bobcats their 17th win of the year as Ohio continues to hold onto the No. 2 seed in the Mid-American Conference Tournament. The Bobcats travel to Oxford on Feb. 21 and will attempt to push their winning streak to four games against Miami.