Amani Burke knew it wasn’t fair that Peyton Guice had to save the Bobcats.
With less than a second remaining, Guice, a freshman who only played two minutes in Saturday’s game, took a deep breath and sunk her first free throw. While Guice controlled her breath for her second attempt, The Convo crowd held theirs.
Guice, The Convo and the rest of the Bobcats would exhale in disbelief after the guard’s second attempt rimmed out, sealing Ohio’s 63-62 loss to Buffalo.
Ohio’s third consecutive loss couldn’t be on Guice, though. It was by luck that she was even at the line. Guice was fouled after rebounding Cece Hooks’ missed game-tying layup. Guice had her face buried in her hands, but Burke wouldn’t let her carry the burden.
“I pulled her to the side and told her that we shouldn’t have even put you in that position,” Burke said. “I think she understands now that not in any way, shape or form was that her fault.”
There were many factors that played a role in Ohio’s loss to the Bulls (16-11, 7-9 Mid-American Conference).
At the start of the second half, Ohio (17-10, 10-6 MAC) clung to a 32-28 lead, but couldn’t pull away. Buffalo’s superior height made it nearly impossible for Ohio to snag rebounds. On multiple possessions, the Bulls would get two, three and sometimes four opportunities under the rim.
“It’s frustrating,” Ohio coach Bob Boldon said. “We just weren’t able to get in there and get rebounds.”
One of the players who spent most of the game battling was Gabby Burris. She started off slow but picked things up in the fourth quarter. With the game still nearly deadlocked, Burris (16 points, seven rebounds) was who Ohio wanted to have the ball in their hands.
Buffalo was just too much, though. The Bulls had four players in double figures, and Ohio simply couldn’t break away. Games like these have been Ohio’s weaknesses this season, but the hopes are still positive.
“We’re not worried,” Burris said. “We’ll figure it out.”
There is still time for Ohio to turn things around, but the clock is ticking. The Bobcats have two more regular season games against Kent State and Miami before the start of the MAC Tournament.
And just like there isn’t a person to blame for the loss, it’s going to take the entire team to right the ship.