[Payton Brooker | WOUB]

Ohio utilizes big second half for 74-73 comeback victory over Delaware

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ATHENS, Ohio (WOUB) – A big second half from Ohio (5-2) paved the path for a 74-73 comeback victory against Delaware (5-3) on Saturday afternoon. 

The Bobcats struggled shooting in the first half. The Blue Hens took advantage by scoring points of their own. 

Ohio shot just 31% from the field in the first half and 20% from beyond the arc. Elmore James led in scoring with 6 points at half as Ohio went into the locker room down 36-28. 

“At halftime we always go in and we say 20 more minutes and we look at the second half as 0-0,” James said. “We don’t care about the first half as much. We understand that we got 20 more minutes and another opportunity to try to win the game so we all came out with a new mindset and we executed our gameplan.”

The second half was a different story for the Bobcats. With them facing as much as a 11-point deficit in the second half, they didn’t back down. 

Shereef Mitchell goes in for the score against Delaware
Shereef Mitchell (4) goes in for the score against Delaware [Maria Monesi | WOUB]
In the final moments, a pair of layups from Jaylin Hunter and a three-pointer from AJ Clayton allowed Ohio to cut its deficit 68-65. 

Following a layup from Shareef Mitchell, James knotted things up with a free throw to make it 68-68. James led all scorers with 21 points and was crucial for Ohio. 

“We made some 50/50 toughness plays down the stretch and I think a lot of it was because Elmore stepped up and he was that guy,” assistant coach Lamar Thornton, who was acting as head coach in place of Jeff Boals who was out due to COVID-19 policies, said. 

Hunter is another player that stepped up for Ohio especially in moments where it mattered the most. A layup from him allowed Ohio to take the lead 74-73 with 31 seconds left. 

“Trying to get the stop on the next play I knew the game wasn’t over after that,” Hunter said. “Obviously it felt good to get that go-ahead bucket but we knew we had more work to do and we ended up getting the stops we needed.”

As time expired Cavan Reilly missed a three-pointer for Delaware as the crowd erupted in the Convo. 

All nine players that saw time on the court contributed for the Bobcats which James says was an important factor in the victory. 

“We have an extremely deep team,” James said. “Everybody’s bought in right now and I feel like that shows everytime we step on the floor. I feel like the guys on the bench they lifted us up when we needed it many times this game and that’s another main reason we were able to win this game.”

Ohio returns to the Convo on Dec. 6 against Youngstown State.