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Ohio freshman guard Jordan Dartis goes up for a lay up during the Bobcat's MAC tournament quarterfinal game against Northern Illinois at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio on March 10, 2016. Dartis has been shooting 46-percent from three-point range which ranks as eighth best in the country. (FILE)

Men's Basketball: Ohio defeats NIU 79-62 to advance in MAC Tournament

Ohio advances to MAC semifinal round after besting Northern Illinois, 79-62. 

Northern Illinois had Antonio Campbell's number earlier in the season.

When Ohio traveled to Dekalb, Illinois, for its Mid-American Conference opener, Campbell played just 13 minutes and scored a season-low four points. Even when the Bobcats defeated the Huskies in The Convo, Campbell was held to 11 points in the middle of a six-game stretch in which he averaged 24 points a game.

Campbell finished with 21 points, eight rebounds and five blocks Thursday en route to a 79-62 MAC quarterfinal win in Cleveland.

Ohio will advance to the semifinals of the tournament to face Buffalo on Friday at 9:00 p.m.

“We’ve been playing pretty confident for the past 13, 14 games,” Campbell said. “We were trying to stop (Marin) Maric. We’ve seen that we’ve hurt ourselves giving up buckets in transition, so we practiced boxing out and transition drills.”

Both teams had solid shot selection early, but as the first half carried on, Ohio emerged as the more consistent threat. The Bobcats were able to drain 14 3-pointers.

Ohio shot 30-for-59 as a team. The Bobcats’ 29 shots from behind the arc were their highest single-game total of the season.

Northern Illinois went into the half on a 5:07 scoring drought and never recovered in the second half.

“The biggest takeaway for me is we came out and looked poised on the tournament stage,” Ohio coach Saul Phillips said. “We talked about that a great deal, but these guys have to go out and do it. Bottom line is you win, you get to rest up quick and get ready to go for whoever we face.”

Guard Jaaron Simmons closed the game with 16 points and 11 assists and was a factor both with his shooting and ability to deal the ball inside to Campbell. Many of Campbell's shots from inside came off of feeds from Simmons; and the most notable of which was a no-look alley-oop feed that Campbell finished with a two-handed slam.

Five Bobcats hit double figures, led by Campbell's 21. Forward Kenny Kaminski shot 5-for-8 from 3-point territory to finish with 17 points on the evening. 

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Ohio's Jordan Dartis added three 3-pointers to score 11 and Treg Setty added 10 points with two 3's.

“Northern is really, really good defensively at taking away the paint,” Phillips said. “We knew we would have to take some. We're comfortable taking that many. We got a lot of shots up tonight.”


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