Jaaron Simmons makes a jump shot as they try to take the lead during Ohio University’s game against Toledo at the Convocation Center in Athens, Ohio on Tuesday, January 25, 2017. (Daniel Linhart/WOUB)

Kent State’s Clutch Bucket Ends Ohio’s MAC Tournament Run

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Ohio found itself in a similar spot to where they were Thursday night. The Bobcats were in a close game with less than 10 seconds remaining.

Yesterday, Kenny Kaminski hit the game-winning shot vs. Toledo.

With 10 seconds left in Friday’s Mid-American Conference Tournament semifinal, Kent State’s Jaylen Walker drove the length of the court and sunk a shot from the paint with 4.1 seconds to go. A lot of contact ensued, but there was no call.

Jaaron Simmons responded by driving the length of the floor but was double-teamed. He found Jordan Dartis.  But by then, the horn sounded. Ohio didn’t get a shot off. They lost 68-66.

“They had a lot of guys surrounding me, they did a good job on defense.” Simmons said. “I thought I had a little more time and tried to kick it out just because I wasn’t open at all, and unfortunately we just didn’t get a shot up at the rim.”

Walker’s shot gave Kent State the victory and the chance to play for a NCAA Tournament berth.

About 24 hours earlier, Kaminski hit a shot to give Ohio the victory over Toledo. With 56 seconds to go in Friday’s game, Jaaron Simmons went to the line down four. Simmons made the first but missed the second. Doug Taylor grabbed the rebound and Ohio swung the ball around the perimeter. The ball found Kaminski open in the left corner. Kaminski took one dribble and then took a shot.

Nothing but net. Kaminski let out a big roar. Ohio was down just one.

“I never really thought we were going to lose.” Kaminski said. “The ball came around to me, and I happened to make a shot but it just wasn’t enough today.”

The games’ last sequence was one out of many questionable plays in a physical game.

“Personally, I thought the refs were horrible today. I thought there was a lot both ways, but at the end of the day, that’s completely out of our control,” Kaminski said.

Ohio had 19 fouls in the game.  Also, Gavin Block drew four charges, according to Jason Arkley of the Athens Messenger.

The two teams traded baskets in the beginning until Ohio went on a 16-6 run, grasping a 32-22 lead. A 10-0 Kent run tied the game at 32. Simmons’ jumper to close out the half gave Ohio a 34-32 edge at the break and ended the Bobcats’ five-minute scoring drought.

The second half was back-and-forth just like the first 20 minutes were.

The Golden Flashes nearly ran away with the game when Kevin Zabo and Jalen Avery hit triples, taking their teams’ lead up to 64-58. Simmons quick baskets cut Ohio’s deficit to 66-62, before a Kaminski’s 3-pointer made it a 1-point game.

Simmons had 25 points and seven rebounds. Kaminski finished 16 points. Taylor provided solid minutes off the bench, scoring eight points and grabbing six rebounds.

Golden Flashes senior Jimmy Hall would not let his collegiate career end Friday. The Bobcats had no answer for him as he finished with 22 points, 10 rebounds four assists. Zabo drilled four 3-pointers, earning 15 points.

“Jimmy Hall carried the team tonight. He was unbelievable with his passing,” Phillips said. “He impacted the game on so many levels that I would be at a loss for words to put it in perspective.”

Hall had positive opinions of Jason Carter after playing against him.

“I just tried to be as physical as I can with him. He’s going to be a good player in the next coming years.”

Kent State plays Akron in the MAC Tournament final tomorrow night. Ohio won’t make the Big Dance, but may be invited to the College Basketball Invitational or the Postseason Tournament.