[Maria Monesi | WOUB]

Ohio bows out in the MAC Tournament Semifinals with a 82-75 loss to Toledo

Posted on:

< < Back to

CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOUB) – Ohio (19-13) took its fifth seed into Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse to face No. 1 Toledo on Friday night. Despite a career-high from Jaylin Hunter, Ohio fell short 82-75.

Hunter came out as a man on a mission and scored the first eight points for Ohio including two threes. Toledo regained that lead in just a minute and the Bobcats would lead just one more time the entire game.

Jaylin Hunter goes up for a shot against Toledo
Jaylin Hunter (12) goes up for the basket against Toledo [Alex Eicher | WOUB]
Ohio went on a four-minute scoring drought from 12:57-8:54 mark of the first half. In that time the Rockets went on a 10-0 run to take the lead for the final time and push their lead to nine.

Toledo’s length and athleticism proved to be the difference on the defensive end. It forced Ohio’s guards to be out of rhythm on ball screens and making life difficult for the likes of Dwight Wilson down on the block.

“There were times that we did good against it and there were times we didn’t do as well against it,” Hunter said.

In the second half Ohio cut the Toledo lead to one, 42-41, before having another scoreless four minutes. The Rockets extended their lead to nine during that time.

Toledo point guard RayJ Dennis was awarded Mid-American Conference Player of the Year earlier in the week and showed why he was the unanimous choice. He finished the night with 28 points on 55% shooting.

He led the high-flying Rocket offense all year and Friday night to the tune of 51% from the field and 35% from three.

“We wanted to make (Dennis) play one-on-one, not let those other guys beat us,” head coach Jeff Boals. “I thought we did a really good job. Give him credit, he stepped up and made some tough shots.”

Elmore James puts up a shot
Elmore James (1) puts up a shot [Alex Eicher | WOUB]
After Hunter’s eight-point outburst to start the game, he did not slow down. In the first half he had 13 points and three 3-pointers. He finished the game with a team-high 27 points and seven threes.

“Just seeing shots go in early always helps and teammates just doing a good job of putting me in position to score,” Hunter said

Ohio was forced to foul late to extend the game. Toledo made enough foul shots down the stretch to advance to the MAC Tournament Championship game Saturday night.

Once the final buzzer sounded seniors Dwight Wilson and Miles Brown were emotional on the sideline. The whole team came to pick them up and huddled for one final time as a group.

“It was just good to reflect on the journey we’ve been through,” Hunter said. “Those are my brothers, I love them. The confidence that we just give each other, it’s raw, it’s real, it’s not fake around here.”