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Ohio redshirt senior forward Kenny Kaminski (#13) puts up a shot during the first half of the Bobcat's 68-66 loss to Kent State in the semifinals of the MAC Tournament on Friday, March 10. Kaminski finished with 16 points in his final game in an Ohio shirt.

Basketball: Ohio loses 68-66 to Kent State in conference semifinals

CLEVELAND — Thursday night Kenny Kaminski’s late shot saved Ohio. Friday night, Jaaron Simmons was never able to get the shot off.

With 4.1 seconds left and trailing by two, Simmons dribbled the full court, only to slip into a trap, as No. 2 Ohio lost 68-66 to No. 6 Kent State in the Mid-American Conference Tournament semifinals at Quicken Loans Arena.

Ohio started well, quickly building a lead that expanded to 10. But with 5:42 left and the Bobcats leading 30-20, Jason Carter picked up his second foul and was substituted, sparking a 12-2 run for Kent. Ohio still led 34-32 at halftime.

Kent’s momentum continued to start the second half, and the Golden Flashes finally took a 43-42 lead with 13:58 remaining. Problems began to overflow for Ohio soon after.

Carter picked up his fourth foul with 11:26 remaining; Gavin Block then injured his knee. Both continued to play but were hindered.

While Ohio rallied to tie the game on multiple occasions, it could never regain the lead.

A 3-pointer from Kenny Kaminski cut the lead to 66-65 with 40.9 seconds remaining. After Kent failed to score on the following possession, Simmons committed a foul with 10.8 seconds left.

Simmons made the first free throw but missed the second. The Golden Flashes then came down and scored with 4.1 seconds left when Jaylin Walker banked his shot off the glass.

On the ensuing possession, Simmons was unable to get a shot off.

Simmons led Ohio scorers with 25 points. Kaminski had 16, while Doug Taylor had eight. Carter, who had a double-double the night before, ended the game with four points and two rebounds. He fouled out with 1:02 remaining and Ohio trailing 64-61.

Including Friday night, the Bobcats have now lost four of their last five semifinal matchups against the Golden Flashes. Kent State will now play No. 1 Akron on Saturday night in the championship game.

While the loss is technically the last game on Ohio’s schedule, the Bobcats’ season might continue. While NCAA Tournament and National Invitation Tournament hopes are spoiled, the Bobcats can still appear in the CBI (College Basketball Invitational) or the CIT (CollegeInsider.com Postseason Tournament).

Ohio lost 77-72 to Morehead State in the 2016 CBI semifinals in The Convo.

@charliehatch_

gh181212@ohio.edu

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