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Ohio redshirt junior guard Jaaron Simmons shoots a free throw during the second half of the Bobcats' 85-70 win over Akron on Saturday, February 4 at the Convocation Center.

Men's Basketball: Jaaron Simmons continues his dominance

Saturday against Akron, Ohio needed everything guard Jaaron Simmons had.

He delivered. He was nearly perfect.

Ohio beat Akron 85-70 behind Simmons’ 38 points, 10 rebounds and five assists on 10-of-16 shooting.

His 38 points is a career-high, outdoing his 23 points notched just a week ago at Bowling Green. He played every minute against Akron.

“It’s Ohio vs Akron,” Simmons said. “What do you expect? We’re playing with a lot of fire out there. Both teams.”

‘A lot of fire’ is an understatement.

Simmons’ pull-up jumpers made The Convo erupt throughout. He soared through the air for rebounds. His crossovers and drives to the basket masked Ohio’s occasionally deficient low-post production.

At one point, Simmons aggressively crossed up Akron’s Antonio Jackson before swiftly laying the ball up and staring Jackson down. He received a standing ovation when he finally rested with 12.5 seconds to go.

The Bobcats needed Simmons’ swagger, too, especially against an opponent that has beaten them nine of the past 12 matchups. It was the first time Ohio had beaten Akron in two calendar years.

Simmons 38 points were the most points an individual has scored against Akron this season.

“I mean, that’s what he does right there,” Gavin Block said. “That’s what he can do, and that might not happen every night, but he’s going to give you production like that.”

Simmons led Ohio in points, rebounds and assists. He had more made free throws individually (13) than Akron had all game (11).

That’s how vital Simmons was Saturday — and how vital he will be for Ohio’s success moving forward.

Ohio coach Saul Phillips said Simmons has changed since All-MAC forward Antonio Campbell broke his foot three weeks ago.

The stats don’t lie.

Simmons has averaged 22 points on 50 percent shooting and six assists per game since Ohio last played Akron. He’s scored 136 points in the past six games. Before then, he had 170 points in 15 games.

“He’s like a Jedi, man,” Phillips said. “Sometimes. Before games, I can’t tell if he’s pissed at someone … because he gets real quiet. But I sense something different about him since Tony was ruled out, no question about that.”

Phillips added that Simmons is a “wounded dog backed into a corner”.

Well, Simmons “Wounded Dog” form has quite the bite. Ask Akron.


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