Ohio opened the second half with a 16-3 run to take a one-point lead (47-46) midway through the period, then withstood a number of Bulldog runs to hang on for the win.
Junior forward Maurice Ndour (Mbour, Senegal) led the Bobcats with a career-high 24 points, while Nick Kellogg matched his personal best with 23 points on 7-of-12 shooting. Ndour added 10 rebounds to post his second career double-double and also chipped in four assists and two blocks.
Kellogg set a new career high with nine rebounds and made all six of his free throws. It marked the second time this season that Ohio had two players score 20 or more points in a game.
Senior guard/forward T.J. Hall (Gainesville, Fla.) added 12 points, five rebounds, three assists and a career-best three blocks for Ohio off the bench.
Ohio shot 44.9 percent (22-49) for the game, including a 52.2 percent (12-23) mark in the second half. The Bobcats also limited UNC-Asheville to 32.2 percent (19-59) for the game, including just 22.2 percent (6-27) in the second half.
After Asheville's Andrew Rowsey hit five of his first six 3-pointers, Ohio limited the hot shooting freshman to just 1-of-8 from beyond the arc to end the game.
The Bobcats distributed 16 assists on 22 field goals and made 30-of-34 free throws (.882) in the game.
The Bulldogs made six of their first eight 3-pointers – including four from Rowsey - to jump out to a 26-11 lead with 11 minutes to play in the first half. A dunk from Ndour pulled Ohio within 10 (35-25) with 5:11 to play in the half, but the Bobcats could not move any closer at the break and trailed, 43-31, at halftime.
The Bobcats started the second half on a 9-0 run and tied the game at 46-46 on a 3-pointer from Travis Wilkins. Ohio took a two-point lead (55-53) after free throws from Ndour, but Asheville responded with a 7-0 run to go back up by five (60-55).
Ohio answered with some timely shooting, as 3-pointers from Kellogg and Taylor pushed Ohio ahead by three (63-60) and the Bobcats extended the edge to five (71-66) on a jumper by Ndour as the shot clock expired.
The Bulldogs moved within three (73-70) but could not score for the remainder of the game as Ohio made six free throws down the stretch.
With the victory, Ohio won its 10th non-conference game for the third time in five seasons and finished with a winning non-conference road record for the third time in the last four years.
The Bobcats are now 9-0 when they hold their opponent to 70 points or fewer this season.
Ohio opens Mid-American Conference play with a 7 p.m. contest at Kent State (9-4) on Wednesday (Jan. 8). The game will be televised locally on Time Warner Cable SportsChannel and broadcast nationally on ESPN3. Ohio fans can also listen to the contest live on the Ohio IMG Sports Network, with pre-game coverage beginning at 6:30 p.m.
Eastern Michigan 92, Rochester 54
YPSILANTI, Mich. (EMUEagles.com) - Eastern Michigan University's men's basketball team welcomed the new year with a victory in its non-conference season finale against Rochester College. The 92-54 win leaves the Eagles boasting an 8-5 record heading into Mid-American Conference competition, while Rochester falls to 11-7 overall.
The Green and White was led by Karrington Ward (Lockport, Ill.-Lockport Township (Moraine Valley CC)) with 14 points. Four other Eagles notched double-digit figures as Darell Combs (Chicago, Ill.-Thronwood (Blinn)), Raven Lee (Detroit, Mich.-Romulus), Glenn Bryant (Detroit, Mich.-Oak Hill Academy (Arkansas)) and Daylen Harrison (Akron, Ohio-St. Vincent-St. Mary (Wyoming)) all added at least 10 points for EMU. Da'Shonte Riley (Detroit, Mich.-Detroit Country Day (Syracuse)) had a career game on the boards after pulling down 14 rebounds for the team. Mike Talley (Detroit, Mich.-Melvindale ABT (Duquesne)) and Lee setup the Eagle offense, each handing out three assists apiece while Lee grabbed an additional three steals.
As a squad, the Eagles shot 34-of-57 for a season-high 59.6 percent clip. The Green and White also sank 21-of-29 free throws for 72.4 percent. The team was dominant in rebounding, recording 43 compared to Rochester's 25 boards. The Eagles also notched 10 steals in the matchup and forced an additional eight turnovers.
Stavros Schizas paced the Warriors with 15 points and five rebounds. The Eagles were able to hold Rochester to 20-of-59 shooting (33.9 percent). The Warriors knocked down nine three-pointers to make up half of their points, but only shot at a 23.1 percent clip after taking 39 attempts throughout the course of the game.
The Eagles got on the board early after an elbow jumper from Bryant found its way through the rim, followed up by a shot well over the Rochester defenders from Ward. Schizas soon recorded the first points for the Warriors by draining a triple.
Not being one to ignore the advantages of his frame, Ward assertively rejected a shot from the elevating Kourea Hayes, which was snatched up and run down-court by Lee for a fastbreak play that would bring the Eagles to a 10-5 advantage over the Warriors.
Rochester was not silenced despite Bryant throwing down a thunderous dunk, as the Warriors were able to find consecutive success in the paint thanks to Schizas's aggressive drives to the rim. After a five-point effort from the Greek guard and an three-point jumper from AJ Burton, Rochester found itself just two points shy of EMU, sitting at a 16-14 disadvantaged with 13 minutes remaining in the half.
The Warriors' 7-0 run was put to an end when Harrison fought his way through the paint to notch a put-back for the Eagles. The layup sparked a 12-3 run for the Green and White, most of which came from inside the paint, ending with Paris Pereira hitting a last-second three-pointer before the shot clock expired. With five minutes remaining, the Eagles retained a solid 28-20 edge over the Warriors.
Hot off the bench, Jalen Ross (Greensboro, N.C.-Greensboro Day) came in and dropped in a quick quintet of points for EMU as the scoring gap continued to expand in favor of the Green and White. Despite building up to a 39-25 lead over Rochester within three minutes, Eastern continued to implement a full court press, the pressure of which forced a turnover out of the hands of Schizas.
The final play for the Eagles of the first half was one to remember, as Riley rose well above those scrambling for a rebound in the paint to grab the rock and slam down a dunk. The Green and White left for the locker room with a 41-28 advantage on the scoreboard.
Bryant paced the Eagles with eight points and five rebounds, followed by Ward, who tallied six first half points. However, the points were widely distributed as nine Eagles scored over the course of the half. Riley led all players on the glass with eight rebounds. As a team, the Eagles made half of their attempts from the field, shooting 17-of-34. The squad struggled from behind the arc, taking eight three-point shots but did not make one in the first half. However, the team proved to be dominant off the glass, pulling down 25 rebounds compared to 13 from Rochester.
Rochester was led by Schizas, who was the only player in double digits at the close of the half with 13 points as well as four rebounds. The Warriors were held to 9-of-27 for a 33.3 percent clip, but they had more success from three-point range as the team hit five triples. Rochester relied heavily on attempting three-pointers in its offense, as 22-of-27 shots taken were from beyond the arc.
The Green and White came out with intensity in the second half, as Bryant nailed two free throws and immediately went into a full court pressure defense Rochester off the in-bound play, allowing Lee to swoop in for a steal and jump shot to quickly put four points on the board.
Rochester's John Irons hit his second triple of the afternoon, but the Eagles retaliated with an and-one for an old fashioned three-point play by Ward. The junior then picked Pereira's pocket on the following possession and handed off to Talley, who ran down court and dished out an assist off the backboard into the hands of the high-flying Ward for an uncontested alley-oop dunk. Within two minutes of the opening of the half, the Eagles had established a 50-31 lead.
The Eagles, however, were held scoreless over the next two minutes before Lee notched another steal and fastbreak layup and followed it up with a pull up three-ball. Rochester was not allowed to score for seven minutes while the Eagles took off on a 19-point streak with buckets from Harrison, Combs, and Anthony Strickland (Ypsilanti, Mich.-Dearborn Heights Roubichard (Adrian)).
Viktora Merkevicus finally ended Rochester's dry spell with a layup, but Combs did not allow the Warriors to string together more than two points after draining a three-pointer to score 10 consecutive points for the Green and White. The Chicago, Ill. native then showcased his awareness by finding Harrison open for an alley-oop to build the Eagles' lead to a commanding 76-37 edge.
Rochester mustered its first run of the second half with a three-pointer from Zef Deda and a layup from Evan Walker which came to a halt when Ward knocked down another mid-range jumper. The Warriors were later able to come up with another five points thanks to a combination of inside and perimeter shots, yet they still trailed by nearly 40 points after another and-one play from Talley brought the count to 84-47 with four minutes remaining in the contest.
The Eagles continued to provide opportunities for the bench to score, as local product Ali Farhat (Dearborn, Mich.-Dearborn) hit a fade away jumper and a sideline triple to eclipse his career-high within the span of 40 seconds. The Warriors were able to add seven more points to their effort, but the Eagles ended the matchup with a dominant 92-54 win.
The Eagles will kick of MAC play Wednesday, Jan. 8, when they make the short jaunt to Bowling Green, Ohio to square off against the Falcons of Bowling Green State University. Tipoff is slated for 7 p.m. The Green and White will return to the Convocation Center the following week when it takes on MAC foe Western Michigan University in a MAC-TV broadcast at 7 p.m., Jan. 14.
UMass 73, Miami 65
AMHERST, Mass.--Miami University's men's basketball team put forth a valiant effort but came up short, falling at No. 23/22 Massachusetts on Saturday evening, 73-65.
Senior forward Will Felder led all players with 22 points, while senior guard Quinten Rollins added nine assists, five steals and seven points and sophomore guard Geovonie McKnight tallied 15 points and a career-high seven assists. Felder was 10-of-12 from the field, shooting a scorching 83.3 percent from the field.
Baskets by Rollins and McKnight gave Miami (4-7) a quick 4-0 lead by the 18:18 mark. The Minutemen (12-1) used an 11-0 run over the next four minutes to take a seven-point lead at 14:23. UMass extended its lead to eight points, leading 20-12 with 8:43 to go in the opening half, but Miami persisted and used four points from freshman forward Joshua Oswald, a trey by freshman guard Jaryd Eustace and a bucket from Felder to shrink the gap to two points by the 6:04 mark, 23-21.
Miami kept it close and trailed just three points after McKnight fired a pass to sophomore center John Hawkins, who tossed in the layup at 3:09 to make the score 30-27 in favor of UMass. Trey Davis knocked down back-to-back 3-pointers for the Minutemen to extend their lead to 36-27 with 1:49 to go, but McKnight completed a three-point play with just over a minute to play and Felder tossed in a layup as the first half ended to put the RedHawks within four at the break, 36-32.
UMass scored four unanswered points to open the second half, but Miami retailed with a four-point spurt with a buckets from Oswald and Felder to stay within four of the Minutemen with 16:10 to go, 40-36. UMass extended its lead to 11 points at 9:32, 51-40, but the Red and White cut the deficit to single digits off back-to-back Oswald layups to pull within seven at 8:53, 51-44.
After UMass took a 12-point lead at 3:57, 62.50, a feisty RedHawk team refused to relent and went on a 7-1 scoring flurry to pull within six points with 2:53 to play, 63-57. The Minutemen again pushed their advantage to double figures, leading 70-59 with 36 seconds left, but jumpers by McKnight and a pair of buckets by Felder again brought Miami within six with four seconds to play. UMass capped the scoring with a pair of free throws with four seconds remaining to make the final margin eight points.
Oswald was the other RedHawk to score in double figures with a career-high 12 points. Chaz Williams led four Minutemen in double figures with 18 points.
Miami continues a two-game road stretch when the RedHawks travel to Central Michigan to open Mid-American Conference play at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 8.