The Ohio Bobcats played an interstate doubleheader on Saturday. The Bobcats women started the day searching for a signature win at Central Michigan while the men tried to get a rivalry win at Miami.
Just 10 days after blowing a lead and falling to the Miami RedHawks in the fourth quarter, the Ohio women’s basketball team Saturday afternoon was on the verge of doing it again but this time at CMU. Ohio didn’t score in the final quarter until five minutes in, but held off the Chippewas’ comeback for a 78-75 win.
The Bobcats took the game’s first lead and held it for the entire game, but almost let it slip. Ohio led 67-54 entering the fourth quarter, but an 11-0 run by Central Michigan put them down just one score, 67-65.
After trading buckets, the ’Cats got the separation they needed when junior guard Amani Burke nailed a three-pointer with 3:45 left for a 74-68 lead. A steal by sophomore Gabby Burris led to a Cece Hooks layup to go ahead 76-68.
The Chippewas took a layup by Reyna Frost to cut Ohio’s lead to 76-70 with just 2:51 left in the game. Another score did not occur until just 19 seconds remained on the clock when Ohio sealed the game with free throws.
Senior Dominique Doseck converted two final free throws at the end of the game as the Bobcats were 14 of 19 from the stripe as a team. Central Michigan shot for just 14-24 from the line despite out-shooting Ohio overall from the field. On threes, though, Ohio was superior converting 10 of 30 to CMU’s 5 of 22.
Burris got Ohio rolling beyond the arc, making two threes to begin the game before Burke followed for another and a 9-2 lead just two-and-a-half minutes into the contest.
The only starter to not convert a three, Hooks still led Ohio with 28 points and eight rebounds. Burris scored 13 points with eight rebounds and four steals. Every starter for the Bobcats reached double-digit points. Just two Ohio points came from the bench.
Central Michigan (16-6, 7-3 Mid-American Conference) remained on top of the MAC West Division despite the loss. The Chippewas will host Western Michigan, with just two conference wins, on Wednesday.
Ohio (20-2, 9-2 MAC) avenged its early-season loss the CMU and put itself alone atop the entire MAC. No other team is within three games of the 20-win mark. The Bobcats travel to Toledo on Wednesday for a 7 p.m. tip-off. That game can be watched on ESPN+.
In the Saul Phillips era at Ohio University, the Miami RedHawks had never beaten the Bobcats in consecutive games. That changed after Ohio’s 2017-18 season was ended by Miami in the MAC Tournament and when Miami won 79-59 in the first meeting with Ohio of the current season on Saturday.
It didn’t matter how the Bobcats tried to get buckets to fall, it just wasn’t happening. Ohio shot just 35.6 percent overall from the field, 31.6 percent on threes and 52.4 percent on free throws. Ohio never once held a lead and trailed by as many as 22 points in the second half.
The Bobcats entered the second half down 47-27, but had their brightest moment to open the second half. The Bobcats went on a 10-0 run and eventually cut Miami’s lead to 53-47 with 13:05 left in the game.
The RedHawks started a 12-2 run shortly thereafter and led 65-49 with just under seven minutes remaining. Once Ohio lost its offensive groove, it disappeared for good. The Bobcats missed open shot after open shot and gave away opportunities to get into the game.
Ohio’s starters totaled just 40 points with seniors Gavin Block and Doug Taylor combining for a single point. Sophomore guard Teyvion Kirk led Ohio with 18 points, six rebounds and five steals. Redshirt sophomore Jason Carter added 16 points. Redshirt freshman Ben Vander Plas scored 12 points from the bench and had four assists.
Miami (13-11, 5-6 MAC) further buried Ohio in the bottom of the MAC East Division. The RedHawks travel to Western Michigan next Saturday.
Ohio (11-11, 3-7 MAC) sunk to .500 for the first time since starting the year 2-2. The Bobcats will return home on Tuesday for a 7 p.m. tip-off against Eastern Michigan. Ohio and Eastern Michigan can be watched on ESPN+.