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Current Miami Head President Pat Riley once said “no rebounds no rings.”
For the Ohio Bobcats on Friday night, no rebounds meant no win.
The Ohio Bobcats (9-11, 2-6) were out-rebounded 51 to 38 and gave up 15 offensive rebounds in a 73 to 66 loss to the Buffalo Bulls (15-5, 8-0).
Every time, Buffalo began to pull away and appeared to have the game under raps, The Bobcats responded. However, Ohio could never get the game within one possession.
Davonta Jordan hit a three with 17:30 left in the game to give Buffalo a 39-25 lead.
Then, true freshman, Teyvion Kirk took over. Kirk scored seven straight, as part of a 9-0 run to make the score 39-34. Kirk had perhaps his best game as a Bobcat. He scored 18 points (15 in the second half) and grabbed 10 rebounds.
“[He] played harder than our guys tonight, which might be the first time I can say that all year,” Buffalo head coach Nate Oats said. “He wanted it [more].”
Oats later said Kirk was “their best player tonight.”
However, the Bulls quickly pushed it back up to 11, with a 7-0 run. A Kevin Mickle layup made it a six point game, 52-44 with 9:02 remaining. The lead hovered around six, until five straight points by Nick Perkins, put Buffalo up 65-52 with 4:48 remaining. But, as they did all game long, Ohio made a run.
A pair of free throws by Jordan Dartis, capped a 7-0 run that spanned 1:10. The two teams remained scoreless for about two minutes. Kirk missed a dunk and on Buffalo’s ensuing possession, Jordan missed a three. Gavin Block corralled the rebound and was fouled. Block missed both free throws. Buffalo’s Jeremy Harris drilled a right-wing three on the next possession. Dagger. The six point lead, became nine.
“Missed a dunk, we missed an open three, got the rebound, got it back, got fouled, missed two free throws. They come back down and hit a three,” Ohio head coach Saul Phillips said, rehasing the sequence. “Again those are the opportunities that seem to be eluding us right now.”
Buffalo made their free throws down the stretch, to remaining unbeaten in Mid-American Conference play. However, Oats gave credit to Ohio and was not happy with his team.
“I tip my hat to Ohio. I think they played better than we did. We’ve got more talent out there on the floor than they do. We don’t have the injuries and problems they’ve had this year. In my opinion they out played us. We’re fortunate enough to have better players out there on the floor and got the win.”
Mickle, Dartis and Mike Laster all had 11 points for Ohio. Doug Taylor had 4 points, nine rebounds and four blocks for Ohio. Perkins led the way for Buffalo with a game-high 2- points. Harris had 17 points and grabbed 10 rebounds. Ikenna Smart chipped in 10 points and a game-high 14 rebounds.
Ohio travels to Bowling Green to take on the Falcons on Tuesday. Tipoff is set for 7p.m.