Ohio Men’s Basketball: Ohio snaps 6-game losing streak with overtime win over Bowling Green< < Back to
ATHENS, Ohio — Whenever a team loses by 47 points, you have no idea how they will respond. Ohio responded with one of its best performances of the year when the team tied for the lead in the MAC came to the Convocation Center Friday night.
The Bobcats scratched, clawed, fought and fought some more for forty minutes, but was unable to decide a winner against Bowling Green after regulation.
After back-to-back clutch three pointers from Antwon Lillard that put the Falcons up five, and Gavin Block going 1-of-3 from the charity stripe when he could’ve tied or given Ohio the lead, Ohio had many chances to fold, but they didn’t.
Teyvion Kirk said he had ice in his veins when he drove left and finished through traffic to tie the game at 81 with six seconds left. After that, a step-back miss from Dylan Frye that sent the game into five extra minutes.
“Teyvion has been pretty good down the stretch in games all the time,” Ohio coach Saul Phillips said.
In the overtime period, Ohio got crucial plays from Kirk and Jason Preston. Those clutch plays snapped a six-game losing streak, for the Bobcats (12-14, 4-10) winning in overtime, 92-87 over Bowling Green (19-8, 11-3) Friday evening.
“They played like a team not just hungry for a win, but starving for a win,” Phillips said.
For Ohio this victory meant so much more than just one win in the standings; it gave the team belief that they could compete against some of the best in the MAC again.
“It was a breath of fresh air,” Kirk said.
The difference for Ohio tonight from the rest of the season? Three point shooting. Ohio shot 9-of-18 from long distance — over 20 percent better than their MAC worst 29.3 percent coming into the game.
Another boost for Ohio was bench production. Ohio had 25 bench points and saw their role players have success that as a result, was a huge confidence builder.
“Seeing the smile on their faces after they hit big shots were enjoyable moments for me,” Ohio forward Jason Carter said.
Ohio came into the night bottom in the MAC in points per game, but scoring 92 was well above their season average, and their second most against a Division I opponent this season.
“When we don’t travel with defense this is what happens,” Bowling Green head coach Michael Huger said.
The Bobcats and Falcons were tied for a second straight meeting at halftime. Ohio played solid offense and hit enough shots to keep pace. Carter had nine first half points, Doug Taylor and Ben Vander Plas added six, but it was a balanced effort from Ohio offensively with all eight players who stepped on the floor had at least three points in the opening twenty minutes of the game.
Another reason why Ohio stuck with the Falcons in the second half unlike in their previous meeting, a lack of focus on the defensive end for Bowling Green, Ohio shot 56 percent from the field.
“We played great defense at home. Tonight we just didn’t bring it on the defensive end,” Huger said.
Ohio was a strong defensive team for a some early parts of the season, but recently the Bobcats have been a revolving door in defending drivers to the hoop. After giving up 201 points in the last two MAC defeats, Ohio allowed Bowling Green to score the ball consistently until overtime where the Bobcats defense came alive.
The Falcons struggled with shooting, only hitting 41 percent from the field and 26 percent from three for the game — the three point shooting was much worse than their usual as the Falcons came into Friday night’s game top in the MAC at over 37 percent.
Justin Turner came into the game on a tear, scoring 57 points his last two MAC games, and in the first half he led all scorers with 13 points, but he only scored two second half points.
Demajeo Wiggins had 20 points and 14 rebounds for the Falcons as he dominated down low on the glass and with putback opportunities — Bowling Green had 16 more second chance points than Ohio.
This victory was one that will last for the Bobcats, and with the emotions of the game being so high, Saul Phillips celebrated the win with his guys after the game, something he does so often.
“I celebrate when they get an A on a test,” Phillips said.
Ohio can’t stay too high, they will return to action on Feb. 26 at Kent State, a team that took down the Bobcats 66-52 in the first meeting. Bowling Green has Miami coming to town, a team that beat them 67-53 in Oxford at the end of January.