CLEVELAND — Ohio struggled offensively for most of the first half before finding its groove and defeating Toledo in the Mid-American Conference Tournament quarterfinals Thursday night.
The Bobcats (25-7) tied a program record for the most wins in a season with a 65-57 victory against the Rockets (19-16) at Quicken Loans Arena.
With the win, third-seeded Ohio advances to a semifinal matchup against second-seeded Buffalo Friday night at 9:30 p.m. The Bobcats swept the Bulls (19-9) during the regular season, with the latest victory coming in Buffalo Feb. 22.
Junior point guard D.J. Cooper led the Bobcats with a game-high 18 points to go along with five rebounds and five assists. Redshirt junior guard Walter Offutt added 13 points, as did junior forward Reggie Keely.
Toledo freshman Rian Pearson managed only eight points and four rebounds. The last time the teams met, Pearson poured in 18 points and 16 rebounds to fuel the Rockets.
The Bobcats held a slim 26-24 halftime lead because of a meager 27 percent field-goal percentage before the break. But Ohio generated turnovers and transition points to start the second half on an 11-0 run. Toledo never got within seven points again.
The final four teams in the MAC Tournament are the top four seeds, which all hail from the MAC East. No. 4 Kent State defeated Western Michigan in the first quarterfinal matchup Thursday and will play No. 1 Akron tomorrow in the Zips’ first tournament game. Buffalo also earned a triple bye.
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