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Ohio's Jaaron Simmons dribbles toward the basket during a game against Northern Illinois University on Feb. 6, 2016 at the Convocation Center. The Bobcats won the game 80-69. 

Men's Basketball: Ohio hangs on late, earns road win over Ball State 72-69

Ohio defeat Ball State to get back above .500 in MAC play. 

Ohio coach Saul Phillips has gone to his deep bench rotation multiple times this season because of a poor performance or foul trouble, looking for whatever combination might prove successful.

Tuesday night was not one of those games.

Instead, it was all five of Ohio's starters wearing out Ball State (15-9, 6-5 MAC), and winning 72-69. It was Ohio's fourth win in its last five games and gives it a conference record above .500 for the first time under Phillips.

Forward Antonio Campbell lead the Bobcats (15-8, 6-5 Mid-American Conference) with 26 points and 10 rebounds. Forward Kenny Kaminski added 20 points. 

Ball State shot well the entire night and put pressure on Ohio on repeated possessions to come up with stops that the Bobcats were struggling to find. The Cardinals used this early pace to maintain a lead for most of the half.

Once the Cardinals’ shooting hit a cold spot, however, their defense wasn’t strong enough to keep the Bobcats behind. Ball State failed to hit a shot from the field in the final 4:05 of the first half, during while Ohio scored a necessary six points in that span to get itself in front.

The two teams traded baskets for the first 10 minutes of the second half, as both teams’ top scorers were stifled and unable to send their respective teams on extended runs.

That changed, however, when Campbell and Kaminski stepped up with a combined eight points in less than three minutes to power a 12-3 run that gave Ohio a 57-50 lead.

From there, the Bobcats’ offense ran through the duo, as they formed a two-sided offensive attack from both inside and out that the Cardinals scrambled to defend.

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Campbell notched his 11th double-double of the season. Kaminski, meanwhile, hit five of his 11 3-point attempts.

Despite Ohio attempting to pull away twice in the second half with a pair of separate seven-point leads, Ball State’s shooting kept it in the race until the end.

The Cardinals tied the game with 1:47 left in the second half, forcing Ohio to continue to make shots late in order to win.

That’s when the Bobcats’ upperclassmen answered, with Kaminski draining his final 3-pointer of the game with 1:02 remaining. Then senior Treg Setty nailed a jumper to keep Ohio’s lead at three points going into Ball State’s final possession.

The Cardinals, who entered the game with the MAC’s second-best shooting mark from behind the arc, struggled from deep all night. That continued in their final possession.

Ryan Weber, Ball State’s second-leading scorer coming into the game, got the feed behind the arc with five seconds left and dribbled to his left to find a preferred look. He strayed too far, however, and allowed Setty to reach in and get a hand on the ball. Weber attempted a quick recovery, but his shot fell short as the buzzer sounded.

Ohio’s next challenge will be Friday when it travels to Buffalo (14-10, 7-4).


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