Ohio had what appeared to be an easy test against Bowling Green for its last game of the regular season Saturday at The Convo.
The Falcons entered with just two conference wins and will enter the Mid-American Conference Tournament with the No. 11 or No. 12 seed. The Bobcats have a first-round bye and have lost just four conference games this year.
Instead, Ohio received an example of what may lie in the postseason. The Bobcats defeated Bowling Green, 76-68, Saturday at The Convo but struggled to pull ahead of the surprisingly competitive Falcons for most of the game.
The Falcons stunned the Bobcats with one of their most consistent shooting performances of the year. Bowling Green shot 48 percent form the field, including 63 percent in the first half, and kept pace with Ohio’s No. 2-ranked offense in the MAC despite only only leading for three minutes.
Cece Hooks carried Ohio’s offense the most with 22 points, but it was a brief 30-second sequence from Amani Burke that gave the Bobcats a lead they never lost. Burke made a layup through heavy traffic from Bowling Green and followed it up with a 3 in the next possession to give Ohio a 67-62 lead with eight minutes left.
Burke started a 13-4 scoring run that slowed down the Falcons just enough for a win. Bowling Green came to within six points of tying the score with 1:46 to play, but another 3-pointer from Burke closed the door to a comeback.
Burke also became the 16th Ohio player to reach 1,000 points after she hit her second 3 with four minutes left in the first quarter. The junior, who has averaged 13 points per game this year, received a nice ovation from the crowd at the next whistle.
Ohio will now have three days off before its next game in the quarterfinals of the MAC Tournament. The Bobcats clinched the first-round bye after their win against Miami last Wednesday, and their win Saturday gave them a three-game winning streak.
- Bowling Green committed 22 turnovers.
- Burke finished second on Ohio with 17 points.
- The Bobcats scored 30 points in the paint.