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Ohio Bobcats guard/forward Gavin Block (22) Photo Credit: Sarah Stier – Ohio Athletics

Ohio Overcomes Slow Start to Win a Thriller

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After a first half to forget Sunday afternoon, Ohio put together a comeback to remember.

Despite an 18-point deficit, just three scorers in double figures, two players fouling out, and an injured big man, the Bobcats (2-2, 0-0) persevered through 60 full minutes of game time to down Indiana State (1-3, 0-0) 96-94 in a four overtime thriller.

Ohio’s win over the Sycamores marked its first of the short Gildan Charleston Classic tournament. Indiana State will head back to Terre Haute without a victory in Chucktown.

However, the Sycamores looked like they would run away with it early on, appearing as the more energized team. After two big losses, the Sycamores came out with fresh legs. Meanwhile, Ohio played two competitive games days before and started sluggishly, shooting just 32 percent overall and 18 percent from three-point land.

Indiana State’s Jordan Barnes sparked his club by nailing his first three deep balls. He took advantage of multiple high-ball screens and hit three-pointers from four to five feet beyond the line. Devin Thomas logged three of the team’s five first half blocks, and the Sycamores scored nine points off fast breaks compared to Ohio’s zero.

But the tide turned for the ‘Cats in the next half. Over the final 10 minutes of regulation, they put together a 24-8 run, salvaging their chance at a victory after a sloppy first half. Jordan Dartis bounced back from a 1-11 start to his shooting afternoon by scoring 18 of his 21 points after the opening half.

However, it was Mike Laster’s performance in the second half that propelled the Bobcats’ comeback. Laster had a game-high of 25 points, scoring 18 in the half alone and went 4-4 from beyond the arc.

Ohio closed out double overtime with a 13-4 run, capped off by Gavin Block’s three-ball with 13 seconds left in the period. Despite being held scoreless in regulation, Block hit some of the biggest shots of the game for the Bobcats. Along with his last-second three-pointer, he calmly pump-faked and stepped to his left before he tickled the twine. Those were his first points of the night and they came at a critical time midway through overtime.

Not to mention he put the Bobcats on top for good with a contested bucket with under a minute to go in the fourth overtime. He also hit the impending free throw for his ninth point of the game.

Freshman guard Teyvion Kirk showed a lot of growth through just his fourth game in a Green and White uniform. He has no problem getting to the rack and only had three turnovers all game Sunday. Through the overtime periods, he scored 11 points and made some critical defensive stops. Kirk also went 6-7 from the free throw line and nabbed four of his six rebounds throughout the four overtimes.

One concern for Ohio was the departure of Kevin Mickle in the first half. The graduate transfer made a jump stop in the paint and came up tender on his left knee. Mickle spent the rest of his game on the bench with his knee iced.

Saul Phillips and co. will return to Athens tired but in a good mood ahead of their matchup with Mount St. Mary’s on Friday. The clash with the Mountaineers kicks off a three-game homestand for Ohio.

Tipoff against The Mount is scheduled for 7 pm on Friday, November 24th in the Convo.