With a trip to Cleveland on the line, Ohio made the most of its last game in The Convo this season in a dominant win against Kent State.
The eighth-seeded Bobcats opened their quest for a Mid-American Conference tournament title by fending off the No. 9 Golden Flashes in a 58-40 victory. After protecting its home court, Ohio (14-17) advances to the second round of the tournament and will face either No. 5 Central Michigan or No. 12 Ball State on Wednesday.
The Bobcats took control of the game with a staunch defensive effort in the first half. Kent State managed only eight points on 3-for-23 shooting in the first 20 minutes of the game.
Meanwhile, redshirt senior guard Tenishia Benson took control in her final home game of her college career. She put up eight points to go along with 11 rebounds in the first half and picked up the double-double shortly after halftime.
Junior guard Ashley Fowler and freshman guard Mariah Byard anchored Ohio’s perimeter presence. They combined to go 6-for-9 on 3-pointers and put up 20 points before the break.
The Golden Flashes (6-21) found their offensive spark in the second half, but their charge was too little and too late. Freshman guard Jamie Hutcheson was the only Kent State player to finish in double figures, as she finished with a game-high 16 points.
Ohio won the turnover battle in a landslide. While the Golden Flashes committed 23 foibles, the Bobcats only had 10. Fowler had a game-high six assists — as many as the entire Kent State squad.
“We talked about it how important it is when we shared the basketball,” coach Semeka Randall said. “We were able to do that for the most part in this game. Kudos to them for buying in to what we talked about.”
The Bobcats split the regular-season series against their potential second-round opponents. Ohio lost to Central Michigan on the road Jan. 25 and beat Ball State in The Convo Feb. 11.\