Ohio has inched its way to another postseason game.
After avoiding a late collapse, the Bobcats defeated Rice 65-64 in the first round of the Roman College Basketball Invitational on Saturday night. Jason Carter dominated both sides of the ball, and a coast-to-coast layup from Mark Sears pushed the Bobcats ahead of the Owls and into the quarterfinals.
Here are a handful of quick reactions to Ohio's win over Rice:
Big lead almost wasted
Ohio was an impassable wall after tipoff. Whatever Rice tried, it couldn't break through to the net. Ohio stole the ball six times in the first six minutes and ran up the score while Rice sputtered from the floor. Despite an unimpressive shooting performance, Ohio ran out to a 13-point lead midway through the half.
But Ohio slowed down.
The Bobcats let the Owls crawl back. They loosened their defensive hold and allowed 20 points in the final eight minutes of the first half, shaving a double-digit lead down to a single point come halftime. The Bobcats were mired with shooting problems that only added to their woes in the first half.
Defense was the lone reason Ohio held the lead for all but 33 seconds in the first half. Ohio was haunted by another subpar shooting performance that kept Rice on its heels.
Lengthy shooting droughts weighed the Bobcats down. While the Owls surged late in the first half, the Bobcats missed seven of their final 10 shots before halftime. Three-pointers were almost nonexistent. The Bobcats shot just 18% beyond the arc on Saturday.
Ohio shook its shooting woes and pulled out the win, but it cannot shoot like it did against Rice if it wants to stay alive in the CBI.
Survive another night
Ohio is limping into the quarterfinals.
Sure, it won. But Ohio squeezed out a one-point victory in the closing seconds over the No. 14 seeded team in the tournament. Ohio lived to see another round, but the problems it showcased against Rice will only come back to haunt it.