During Stevie Taylor's 137th and final game as a Bobcat, he paced his team by driving to the hoop and penetrating the defense on his way to a career-high 25 points.
KALAMAZOO, Michigan — Stevie Taylor said before the season began he wanted to go out with a bang.
Although, he probably wasn’t picturing his senior year resulting in a 10-20 record and a first-round exit in the Mid-American Conference Tournament, he did everything he could to keep it going.
Facing a win-or-go home situation, he knew he wasn’t guaranteed another game wearing an Ohio uniform after being the only senior to play all four years with the Bobcats.
During his 137th and final game as a Bobcat, he paced his team by driving to the hoop and penetrating the defense on his way to a career-high 25 points.
All before walking off the court for the final time as a Bobcat.
“Coach (John) Groce told me my freshman year the season is broken up into three different seasons,” Taylor said. “I knew this was a new season, a new start for me, and I just wanted to leave it out there for my guys, my coaches and for the school.”
He helped win at least 24 games and went to Cleveland for the conference tournament during his first three years.
He played the fifth-most games in school history, which came under three different coaches.
He started fewer games this season than during his junior year under then-coach Jim Christian.
Throughout, he held his head high and continued being a leader, even after Monday’s loss.
“These have been my guys for a really long time,” Taylor said. “Even though my career is up, like coach said (in the locker room), they got a week off and they’ve got to come back swinging.
“They’ve got to get back to what Ohio basketball is really about.”
Although Taylor is walking away after four years with the Bobcats, two others exhausted their eligibility Monday.
Javarez “Bean” Willis, a redshirt senior guard, finished his two-year Bobcats career with nine points and a game-high six assists on Monday. Maurice Ndour, also a senior, led all Ohio scorers with 28 points in addition to 11 rebounds.
They led the team throughout the season, through the highs of a senior night victory over rival Miami and the lows of a seven-game losing streak.
But when the final seconds ticked off the clock in Kalamazoo, everyone headed to the locker room to remove their black Ohio jerseys and head home.
Some, for the last time.
“We would’ve loved to go to Cleveland, but that’s not happening,” Ndour said.