Ohio Men’s Basketball: ‘Cats Fall Short At Northern Illinois

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Outside of the Convocation Center in Dekalb, Illinois, the temperature was minus 6. Inside the arena, it was a comfortable 70 degrees, but no one told the Ohio offense that.

The Bobcats (11-9, 3-5 MAC) shot just 35.7 percent from the field and a dismal 19.2 percent from three to fall to Northern Illinois (12-9, 5-3 MAC) 71-60 on Tuesday night.

The game was a battle from the start. In what would become the trend, the Huskies jumped out to a 6-0 lead only to see the Bobcats draw even a couple minutes later. Northern Illinois pushed out to their biggest lead of the first half with 10:15 to play until halftime with Noah McCarty split a pair of free throws to give the Huskies a 19-12 lead.

But the Bobcats fought back, eventually tying the game at 21 with 5:57 to play in the first half.

Both teams battled back and forth for the next 17 minutes of game time. Neither the Huskies nor the Bobcats were able to take more than a two-point lead for from the 3:03 mark of the first half all the way to the 6:25 mark of the second.

With seven minutes remaining, Ohio held a 1-point lead over Northern Illinois, 50-49. The Bobcats shot just 3-of-10 from that point until the final buzzer while the Huskies’ Dante Thorpe knocked down three shots from long range, his final make giving Northern Illinois an eight-point lead with 3:45 left in the game.

The Bobcats offense struggled in the second half, going just 8-of-28 from the field and 2-of-16 from three. 19.2 percent is the Bobcats’ worst night from distance since their win over Florida International on December 30.

Jason Carter led the Bobcats in scoring with 15 points, but the redshirt sophomore was held scoreless for the final 11 minutes of the game. Carter also tallied 6 rebounds on the night.

Teyvion Kirk was the only other Bobcat that finished in double figures, scoring 10 points and also grabbing 6 boards.

Ohio will look to bounce back Saturday when they play host to Akron at 3:30 pm.