Ohio welcomed Kent State to The Convo on Wednesday night for a game that decided the fate of first place in the Mid-American Conference East Division. Kent State entered with a seven-game winning streak and sole possession of first place. The Bobcats sent them home with an 83-81 defeat and only a share of the No. 1 one spot.
How it happened?
Ohio came out, got the lead and never lost it. The Bobcats boast the highest scoring offense in the MAC and showed off its potential early. Ohio shot 46 percent from the floor in the first half and went 5-of-11 from 3-point range. The Bobcats made silly turnovers throughout the first half but Ohio found multiple ways to score. Points came from second chances, fastbreaks and the paint as Ohio jumped out to a 46-31 halftime lead.
Kent State’s Megan Carter started to heat up and scored nine points in the third quarter while the Bobcats’ offense sputtered. At the end of the third quarter, Cece Hooks, Dominique Doseck and Amani Burke each had four fouls, and the Bobcats were clinging to a seven-point lead.
Ohio clung to its lead by getting to the foul line in the closing minute and sinking its free throws.
When was it decided?
With 47. 6 seconds remaining, Erica Johnson went to the foul line with the Bobcats leading by four. She made both. Kent State raced down the court, missed a layup and the Bobcats got the ball back into Johnson’s hands again before she was fouled again.
She made both, and by then it was just trading foul shots all the way to the final buzzer.
Hooks was her usual self leading all scorers with 23 points, but what was uncharacteristic of her was her confidence from behind the arc. Her confidence paid off. She made her first attempt after Kent State sagged off and dared her to shoot it. After it went through the net they started contesting her shot, but that just opened up the lane for her to do what she does best: Finish under the rim.
Kent State’s Alexa Golden and Megan Carter showed why they are one of the MAC’s most dangerous backcourts, combining for 42 points and made life miserable for the Bobcats in the second half. Their ability to draw fouls was what slowly weakened Ohio’s lead throughout the game.
It’s clear that Ohio struggles with rebounding, evidence to its 10th ranked rebounding margin in the 12-team MAC, but Deesh Beck made sure the Bobcats would fight for every loose ball that came her way. The 5-foot-9 freshman tallied four points but 8 rebounds.
What does this mean?
With the win, Ohio locks itself into a tie with Kent State for first place in the MAC East.