Ohio (2-3 overall, 0-0 Mid-American Conference) went head-to-head against Longwood (2-4 overall, 0-0 BigSouth Conference) in a game that came down to the last shot. The Bobcats were not able to get the win as they lost 75-72.
Going into the game, Ohio was red-hot from distance, ranking 30th in the country from three, and overall being very efficient when it came to shooting the basketball. The game didn’t start out that way for Ohio, as Longwood took an early 7-0 lead behind its leading scorer Janay Turner.
Ohio battled back during the first quarter and could get within three by the end of the first ten minutes. It was turnovers again for Ohio plagued the first quarter as Ohio had nine turnovers in the first quarter alone. An 11-2 Longwood run closed out the first quarter and gave the Lancers a 26-23 lead going into the second frame of action.
The second quarter saw both teams battling back and forth, exchanging both buckets and tough defensive stops. On a day when Ohio struggled from deep, Madi Mace was able to turn in the play of the game for Ohio. Jaya McClure was inbounding underneath her own basket and delivered a no-look pass to Mace, who knocked down her second three of the game.
The second quarter is really where the game slowed down on the offensive side. Neither team was able to make threes consistently, and the game got more physical. Ohio was attacking the basket hard and often, getting buckets from Kennedi Watkins and Laylay Fantroy, who scored a career-high 15 points. After a hard-fought first half, Ohio went into the locker room down 44-41.
The Bobcats came out of the locker room and had a slow start to the second half, mostly marred by their shooting struggles as a team.
“They (Ohio) spend so much time working on their craft that a couple of missed shots isn’t going to deter them,” Head Coach Bob Boldon said. “...This shooting night won’t deter us or change what shots we’re trying to get moving forward.”
Thankfully for Ohio its up-tempo and high-energy defense was able to create plenty of opportunities on the fast break to get ahead of Longwood and convert easy layups. The Bobcats forced eight turnovers in the third quarter. Fantroy was everywhere for Ohio, playing intense defense and physical offense on the other end.
Exiting the third quarter and entering the fourth, the same trend continued for the Bobcats, and the game started to pull away from them early in the final frame. Longwood gained a nine-point lead following an and-one layup and began to threaten to close out the game for good. However, Ohio began to claw back slowly, thanks to their aggressive play in the paint.
“Our mindset was to lock in and come together as a team,” Watkins said. “... It just came down to making layups.”
The Bobcats brought the game back to within one score with less than one minute remaining in the fourth quarter, but they weren't able to regain the lead.
Ohio took six free throws in the last two minutes and only made three of them, and a crucial turnover on an inbound pass squandered another opportunity for them.
Yet in the final seconds, Bailey Tabeling fired a three that just missed off the back iron that would’ve tied the game. Longwood escaped with the win, and Ohio walked away with its first home loss this season.