Men's Basketball: Bobcats squash late rally, hand Marshall first loss

With just over five minutes remaining in the second half, it appeared the basketball Bobcats would hand Marshall the same type of defeat their football peers served to the Thundering Herd in September. But a late Marshall rally squelched any possibility for another Bobcats blowout.

After cutting Ohio’s lead to two points with 15 seconds remaining, Marshall (5-1) stole the inbound pass from Ohio’s D.J. Cooper. DeAndre Kane attempted a game-tying shot as time expired, but it clanked off the rim and Ohio (4-1) held on to defeat the Thundering Herd, 70-68 at the Cam Henderson Center.

“This was a typical Ohio vs. Marshall game,” Ohio coach John Groce said. “It came down to the wire and both teams competed. Fortunately we were able to make enough plays at the end to come out with the win.”

With 5:31 remaining in the game, Ohio’s lead was 12 at 67-55. Multiple Ohio turnovers combined with fouls helped Marshall crawl back into the game.

“They kept coming at us,” Groce said. “They were forcing turnovers and were really active. That got them right back in the game.”

For Ohio, Walter Offutt, Nick Kellogg, Jon Smith and Reggie Keely each finished the game with four fouls. Ricardo Johnson and T.J. Hall each had three.

Fortunately for the Bobcats, Marshall struggled to capitalize on Ohio’s foul trouble, connecting on just 21 of 38 free throw attempts.

Ohio had only 11 attempts from the foul line, and made seven of them.

Despite the foul trouble, Keely and Offutt led the Bobcats with 16 and 13 points, respectively. They each also added five rebounds.

D.J. Cooper recorded a double-double with 11 points and 11 assists.

The Bobcats never trailed in the contest, and led by as many as many as 14 points with 7:35 remaining in the game. It was 36-27 at the half.

Ohio received a big contribution from its bench with 28 points — most of which came from Keely. 

“We had a lot of contributions from a lot of players off the bench,” Groce said. “At some point in the game, each of our ten players did something positive to help us win the game.”

Known for their strong rebounding ability, Marshall was able to add 20 second-chance points to the scoreboard, compared to just six for the Bobcats.

However, Marshall only outrebounded Ohio 36-35, something Groce was pleased about following the game.

“Going into the game, the biggest concern I had was their rebounding,” he said. “I thought if we could compete on the glass, I thought that would be a key to the game.”

Coming off the loss at Louisville, Offutt said it was nice to get their first road win of the season.

“Like coach says, we want to build on every game. We lost the Louisville game but we’ll learn from it and we’ll learn from this one and go forward.”

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