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Men's Basketball: Bobcats top resilient Owls to continue historic start

Ohio survived a second-half scare by Kennesaw State Friday night, but even the scariest of the Bobcats’ contests this year are no more hair-raising than the cheapest of horror flicks compared to previous seasons.

Ohio (12-1) used a balanced offensive attack and controlled the tempo when it counted to defeat Kennesaw State 71-63 at the Convo. It was the Bobcats’ closest margin of victory since the Dec. 7 win against Oakland, as the Owls (3-10) made the game more interesting than many fans would have liked.

Kennesaw State was looking to cap a grueling month with an upset of the heavily favored Bobcats.  The Owls have played eight straight road games and lost the first six before defeating Texas A&M Corpus Christi Dec. 23. The team has played — and lost — in Tennessee, Missouri, California, Nevada and Ohio in the past 30 days.

The Owls led early in the first half and trailed by only a point at halftime. Ohio opened a more substantial lead after the break, but Kennesaw State still won a pair of four-minute battles in the game’s final 20 minutes.

The Bobcats struggled most on the offensive glass. Ohio managed only five offensive rebounds in the game, and Kennesaw State outscored Ohio 19-4 in the second-chance points category.

The Owls also had the team’s two most prolific scorers, Markeith Cummings and Delbert Love, who each finished with 19 points. But the Bobcats had the edge in balanced production, with four players finishing with at least 14.

Ivo Baltic paced Ohio’s inside game with 15 points and nine rebounds. D.J. Cooper supplied 14 points to go along with seven assists. Walter Offutt and Nick Kellogg also finished in double figures.

With the win, Ohio is now tied with the 1939-40 team for the second-best start in program history.

The Bobcats have one more game before Mid-American Conference play begins. They will host Robert Morris Monday and will kick off the MAC campaign next Saturday.

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