Jordan Dartis (35) shoots a three-pointer against Central Michigan defenders. (Nickolas Oatley/WOUB)

Ohio Secures Bye to Cleveland with Win Over Miami

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The Ohio Bobcats have locked up a first round bye and is headed to Cleveland.

Ohio defeated the Miami RedHawks 69-55 inside the Convocation Center on Friday night, which also served as Ohio’s senior day.

It was not a pretty game at all but Ohio will take the win. The two teams were called for 43 combined fouls, had 29 turnovers and neither team shot better than 40 percent from the field.

The game never felt in doubt but with fewer than 90 seconds remaining, it was just a seven-point game. Jaaron Simmons had a chance to go for a layup in transition but pulled it back and worked some clock. After working clock, Simmons found Gavin Block for a layup to ice the game.

Seniors Kenny Kaminski, Antonio Campbell and Drew Crabtree were honored before the game but freshman Jason Carter shined during the game. Carter had 16 points and a career-high 17 rebounds. His 15 defensive rebounds were also a career high.

“When I am down low I am just trying to get every board, boxing out and on the offensive end, I’m attacking the glass trying to cause havoc down there, maybe get some turnovers if I don’t get the board or anything,” Carter said.

“What he doesn’t want to say is he does all the little things right and that is why he is successful. Constantly,” Kaminski immediately added. “There is very few freshman that step on the court and do what he does at a Division I level on a consistent nightly basis.”

With 30 seconds to go, Ohio head coach Saul Phillips subbed out Kaminski and subbed in Crabtree. The moment got a loud and long standing ovation.

“It was incredible. It’s really hard to put into words, everything basketball has given me and my life,” Kaminski said. “It’s been such an avenue, it’s opened up so many doors for me and given me so many different opportunities and having Drew check in for me for the last time was a pretty special moment.”

Kaminski got the game started with a corner three. A triple by Jake Wright tied the game at 11 with 9:23 to go in the first half. The two teams traded baskets until a layup by Mike Laster gave Ohio a 19-15 advantage with 5:52 until the break

Simmons found Jordan Dartis for a three to give Ohio a 24-17 lead. Ohio grew the lead to 10 after a pair of free throws by Jason Carter with 15 seconds to go in the half.

Ohio led by double digits for most of the second half until Miami made a run. The RedHawks went on a 9-1 run to make it a 60-53 ball game. But then Simmons found Block to put the game out of reach.

The big advantage in the game came on the glass. Ohio won the battle on the boards by 20 and had 16 offensive rebounds. Kaminski said that shows Ohio wanted it more.

“Well we are missing more,” Phillips joked. “It is hard to get an offensive rebound when you’re taking it out of the bottom of the net. I don’t think there’s any question, sometimes it has been to our detriment, we’re a team that is really grinding for everything we can get right now and those hustle plays are becoming more apparent.”

In his final game at the Convocation Center, Kaminski had 12 points and tied a season high in rebounds with seven. Block had 13, Dartis had 11 and Simmons was also in double figures with 10 points and six assists. For Miami, Michael Weathers had 17 points and Wright had 13 points. Logan McLane had seven points and eight rebounds.

With the win and becasue of the other results around the conference, Ohio has locked up the No. 2 seed in the Mid-American Conference. The tournament begins early next week at campus sites but the Bobcats now have a bye to the quarterfinals in Cleveland because they are one of the top four seeds. As of press time it is unclear which two teams will play in the the opening round for the right to play Ohio next Thursday.