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Ohio University guard, Miles Brown (2), drives for a layup against Miami University players at the Convocation Center in Athens, Ohio, Feb. 3, 2024.

Men's Basketball: Over 9,000 people attend Ohio's 78-69 win over Miami

Ohio (12-10, 6-4 MAC) played with energy and focus throughout its 78-69 win over in-state rival Miami (11-11, 5-5 MAC). The Bobcats were boosted by the 9,000 screaming fans who came to encourage the home team in a monumental Mid-American Conference battle on Siblings Weekend.

Ohio Coach Jeff Boals wasted no time in mentioning the extremely impressive crowd during his post-game press conference.

"First thing, in my five years here, that's the best crowd we've had," Boals said.

Ohio's crowd was undoubtedly powered by Ohio's 'Siblings weekend', but the "Battle of the Bricks" and its importance to the two programs also played a role in the game being the best atmosphere in Boals' tenure. Three of The Convo's five most attended games were the Battle of the Bricks, and according to Boals, it's no secret why.

"I've been involved in a lot of rivalries," Boals said. "Akron-Kent State, Marshall-West Virginia, Ohio State-Michigan, this is the best rivalry...To have this type of turnout for this game, it just amps up everything."

Regardless of the causes for Ohio doubling its season average for attendance, the result was 9,018 Ohio fans on their feet, loudly supporting Ohio after every positive play.

"What an unbelievable atmosphere," Boals said. "They got into the game at the right times, multiple times, helped us to the win, our guys really fed off of that."

Although it felt as though the crowd was present during every aspect of the game, it was hard to hear one's own thoughts after AJ Clayton made his third and fourth 3-point jumpers in the first 11 minutes to give Ohio a 22-21 lead.

The next great cheer came at the end of a 10-0 Ohio run when Jaylin Hunter scored a mid-range jumper, forced a turnover and hit a three-point jumper in less than a minute.

Miami worked to make the 9,000-person crowd feel like 3,000 when it went on a 5-0 run to trim Ohio's lead, but back-to-back Gabe Wiznitzer dunks amped up a temporarily quieted crowd once more.

The loudest cheer of all came at the final buzzer when Ohio officially came out on top 78-69. As the fans gave Ohio a standing ovation following the team's seventh win over Miami in eight games, fifth-year senior Miles Brown could be seen high-fiving many of the fans sitting court side in what could be his final home edition of the "Battle of the Bricks."

"Thank you to the students, the fans, the athletes like that meant a lot to us," Hunter said. "Especially after we won the game, just seeing the whole crowd rise and stuff. Obviously both of us (Hunter and Shereef Mitchell) being in our senior years, that's the stuff you can't take for granted nowadays."

Ohio's win over Miami brings the team to 6-4 in the MAC and fifth in the Conference's standings. The Bobcats' win was extremely impactful in the short term to their postseason hopes, but additionally, the crowd and subsequent performance could contribute to the caliber of players Ohio has in future seasons.

"We had a lot of recruits in, to show kind of the support that we have, that's really big," Boals said. "I'm going to petition to also have Sibs weekend for the next home game."


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