Ohio Men’s Basketball: ‘Cats Grind Out Win Over Miami On Senior Night< < Back to
With 4:22 remaining in the game, Ohio was trailing Miami by two. As a matter of fact, the Bobcats had never so much as tied the RedHawks over the first 15 plus minutes of game time let alone held a lead, but that was about to change.
With 13 seconds left on the shot clock, Connor Murrell took the ball from the left wing across the court and tossed it to Jason Carter in the corner.
Carter dribbles a few times, but finds himself pinned between the baseline and his defender.
Carter lobs an errant shot at the rim to beat the shot clock and misses everything, but Doug Taylor is there to punch the ball back outside the three-point arc into the waiting arms of Antonio Cowart, Jr.
Cowart heaves a prayer from well behind the three-point line, and the prayer is answered right as the shot clock buzzer goes off. Cowart’s first points of the game gave the ‘Cats their first lead at the 4:10 mark of the second half.
That three would come in the midst of a 19-6 run to close the game for Ohio (14-16, 6-12 MAC), propelling them to a win over arch-rival Miami (15-16, 7-11 MAC), defeating the RedHawks 66-57 on Senior Night, getting seniors Doug Taylor, Gavin Block and James Gollon one final win in the Convocation Center.
“I thought it was a fitting way for our seniors to go out. Kind of a grinding, physical game,” Ohio head coach Saul Phillips said. “I think that kind of defines who they’ve been throughout their careers here.”
“I would be, like, that corny guy that says every win is important, but it was super important tonight that we won,” Taylor said.
Taylor left his mark in this game in the second half, scoring six points in his final 20 minutes on his home floor, including a monstrous dunk with just over 2 minutes to play where the big man was fouled. He converted the free throw to give the Bobcats a six-point lead. He finished the game with 10 points and eight rebounds.
He also had a major effect on the defensive end, limiting the RedHawks’ Bam Bowman to just three points in the game on 1-of-15 from the field. Bowman torched the Bobcats in their first meeting for a career-high 23 points.
“I made it an emphasis to limit Bam Bowman and make sure he has tough shots. I feel like he got a lot of easy shots the last game that made him look like a superstar,” Taylor said. “I took a lot of pride hits after that one and had to step up.”
Early on in the game, it didn’t look as if the seniors would get to taste victory one last time on their home floor. From the tip, the ‘Cats were in a hole with Miami scoring the first seven points of the game, eventually building their lead out to as much as 12 with just over six minutes to play in the first half.
“Early on, we were shooting a lot of threes…they were open, but just not falling,” Carter said. “In the second half, we just started attacking (inside) and the rest was history.”
Attack inside they did. In the second half, the Bobcats scored 36 of their 41 points either in the paint or at the foul line.
Carter was a big part of the comeback, scoring a season-high 26 points, 21 of which came in the second half.
“I wanted to send (the seniors) out on the right note,” Carter said.
“That what makes (Carter) special. He never quits,” Taylor said. “This guy is leading the way by example. He’s pretty special to us.”
The Bobcat defense was able to hold the RedHawks in check in the second half as well. Miami only managed to score 25 points and shot just 21.9 percent from the field.
The victory over Miami is just another notch in the “revenge tour” for Ohio. Since the loss to Buffalo on February 19, the Bobcats have looked like a totally different team, with wins over Bowling Green, Akron and Miami and close losses to Buffalo and Kent State, the Bobcats have new hope heading into next week’s MAC Tournament playing their best basketball of the season.
“It’s a great boost, especially with the teams we’ve beaten and the teams we’ve given tough games,” Taylor said. “We’ve competed with the best teams in the MAC, so we shouldn’t have any fears or any hesitation if we have to play them next week. I think that’s big for our confidence.”
With the win on Friday night, combined with Ball State’s loss to Northern Illinois, the Bobcats vaulted into the 10th spot in the MAC standings. That lines them up to play the Huskies next Monday night in Dekalb, Illinois for the right to travel to Cleveland to take on Toledo.
“There’s been a lot of twists and turns in the season, no question about it. But we’ve gotten to here, we’re playing pretty well, we’ve got the tournament and our guys don’t want to go home,” Phillips said. “That makes you dangerous.”
Tip-off for the opening round of the MAC Tournament between the Bobcats and Huskies is set for 9 p.m. on Monday.