After getting drubbed at Eastern Michigan by 36 points on Jan. 27, the Ohio Bobcats held on for a 76-73 victory over EMU Saturday at the Convocation Center. It was the fourth win in the last six games for Ohio (9-12, 4-6 MAC) and fourth loss in the last six outings for Eastern Michigan (14-9, 3-7 MAC).
Senior guard Javarez Willis, who scored 31 earlier in the week to lift the Bobcats past Akron 83-82, again came up big against EMU. He netted a team-high 22 points on 8-of-18 from the field (6-of-15 on threes) with no free throw attempts. Joining him in double figures were Maurice Daly Ndour (16 points, 9 rebounds, 4 blocks), and Antonio Campbell (11 points, 12 rebounds).
Eastern Michigan, meanwhile, was able to hang in to the very end thanks to a 33-point effort by Raven Lee. All but two of that total came in the second half. Jodan Price was the only other Eagle in double figures, netting 12 points.
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When Ohio got its offense clicking again, it rallied to take a 15-14 lead with seven minutes remaining before intermission. A 16-4 run over a six-minute span put the hosts in front, 28-18, and the Bobcats knocked down six of their last seven shots in the period – including a trio of treys – for a 33-24 advantage at the break.
A 14-6 EMU run early in the second period pulled Eastern with within one at 39-38. Prince contributed nine points on two triples and three free throws during the spurt.
Ohio answered by scoring 14 of the next 16 points for a 51-42 lead with 11 minutes remaining. Continuing their pressure, the Bobcats bumped their lead to 15 points (61-46) before Eastern put together a 7-1 run that reduced its deficit to nine.
Five straight points from Lee, who scored 24 of 25 EMU points in one stretch, made it a 73-70 game with OU in front and 1:15 to play. After Taylor hit two free throws for Ohio, Tim Bond drained a three to make it a two-point game. Forty-five seconds remained, but Ohio held the ball until Taylor was fouled with 11 ticks left. He made the first of two and EMU got the rebound. Lee’s three-ball attempt in the final second was off the mark.
Ohio shot 47.1 percent (24-of-51) from the field and was 8-of-22 on threes (36.4 percent. The ‘Cats converted 20-of-25 (80%) at the line and owned a 38-28 advantage on the boards. However, they had 15 turnover to just seven for the Eagles.
Eastern Michigan made 23-of-58 (39.7 percent) from the floor and 10-of-26 (38.5%) trey attempts. The Eagles converted 17-of-24 at the line.
Ohio completes a three-game home stand Tuesday when it hosts Central Michigan (7 p.m. ET). Eastern Michigan will attempt to reverse an early loss to Miami when it hosts the RedHawks Tuesday (8 p.m. ET).