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Shereef Mitchell (4) Guard position on Ohio Univeristy's Mens Basketball team shoots an open three pointer at The Convo, in Athens, Ohio on Dec. 6, 2023.

Men's Basketball: Ohio unable to overcome Toledo in tight battle

It came down to the very last shot of the game, but Ohio (13-12, 7-5 Mid-American Conference) could not overcome the conference’s second-best team in Toledo (16-9, 10-2 MAC). Despite an early offensive onslaught, Ohio lost a thriller by a final of 85-83. 

Ohio has not beaten Toledo in the regular season since 2016, and Friday night was as good a chance as any to do so. The Bobcats took a 5-point lead into the half after having as much as a 13-point lead midway through the first half. 

Jaylin Hunter led the way for Ohio in the first half with 12 points on 4-for-4 shooting from the 3-point line. 

In the opening minutes of the game, Ohio went on an extended scoring run of 16-3 to put Toledo in a hole early. It was not until the final two minutes of the half that Toledo got anything going offensively.  

Despite terrific 3-point shooting from the Bobcats to start the game, the defense led the way during the run. Toledo scored just 7 points in the game's first eight minutes.  

The final two minutes of the half are when the wheels fell off for Ohio. Ohio’s struggles began with an inability to rebound, which allowed Toledo to go on a 7-0 run to end the first half. What would have been a 12-point lead for the Bobcats going into the half became 5. 

At the half, Toledo outrebounded Ohio 40-29. Toledo’s Javan Simmons led the way with a career-high 16 rebounds. 

Coming out of the locker room, Toledo quickly depleted Ohio’s slim 5-point lead. The opening minutes of the second half included repeated lead changes and ties between the two teams. There were a total of 10 lead changes throughout the course of the game.

The Toledo offense led by as many as 6 points in the second half after an 8-0 scoring run. What was once an elite 3-point shooting night from Ohio turned into prolonged scoring droughts that allowed Toledo to pull away. 

The Ohio defense struggled in the second half, allowing 46 total points, 7 more than the team allowed in the first. 

Ohio clawed its way back into the game in the final 5 minutes thanks to junior AJ Clayton, who caught fire from 3-point range. Clayton ended the game with a team-leading 5 3-point baskets in the game. One 3-pointer for Clayton turned into a 4-point play after a foul from Toledo; this particular play from Clayton cut the Toledo lead to just 1. 

Ohio took the lead with two minutes to go, but Toledo quickly tied the game with 1 minute 44 seconds remaining.

Toledo’s Dante Maddox Jr. took the ball down the court just after the one-minute mark and hit an impressive step-back 3-pointer over Ohio’s Aidan Hadaway with 59 seconds left to play. 

Following a slew of made free throws from both teams, Ohio had one last chance and was down by 3 points at the free throw line. Shereef Mitchell made the first free throw and purposefully missed the second. Clayton got a hand on the ball but could not make the basket to send the game to overtime.


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