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Parris' free throw with 2.2 seconds left completes WKU combeback

Bobcats unable to hold on after scoring game's first 14 points

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. – Damari Parris made the second of two free throws with 2.2 seconds left to make Western Kentucky a 67-66 winner against Ohio on Wednesday night at E.A. Diddle Arena.

After a long Ohio pass was tipped out of bounds, the Bobcats (7-3) were unable to get a shot off in the final second.

Kenny Kaminski, who had a season-high 27 points, came up short on a 3-pointer that could have put Ohio ahead with eight seconds left, and Jordan Dartis was called for the foul that sent Parris to the foul line.

The Bobcats did not score in the final 2:18 and did not connect on a free throw in the final four and a half minutes, coming up short in another close road game. Ohio’s only road win in four tries was a 67-61 win at Georgia Tech.

"I can't begin to tell you how frustrating this is," Ohio coach Saul Phillips said. "I'm done suffering with losses we shouldn't have. I'm done. We're too smart of a locker room. We've got to grow. We've got to step up."

Although Ohio scored the game’s first 14 points, neither team led by more than one possession in the final 12 minutes after the Hilltoppers (5-7) erased a nine-point deficit five minutes into the half with an 8-0 run that made it a one-point game with 11:40 remaining.

Ohio’s last made field goal of the game was a Jaaron Simmons layup that made it 65-63 with 4:34 remaining. He followed with a steal but failed to convert another layup that could have created a bigger cushion. Instead, Justin Johnson’s bucket on the other end tied the game at 65.

Both teams came up empty on a pair of possessions before Kaminski made just the first of two free throws to give the Bobcats a 66-65 lead with 2:19 remaining. Johnson tied it about 30 seconds later by splitting two at the line.

Kaminski was blocked on the next possession, and Johnson missed a jumper before Kaminski misfired on a 3-pointer ahead of Parris’ free throw.

Ohio held its biggest lead, 21-4, on a Kaminski 3-pointer at the 10:50 mark in the first half, but it was followed by a 13-0 Western Kentucky run that quickly made it a close game. The Bobcats pushed their lead back to as much as eight before settling for a 35-33 advantage at the break.

A 15-8 run to start the second half put Ohio ahead 50-41.

Kaminski finished 9 of 19 from the field, including 6 of 14 on 3-pointers. Antonio Campbell (12 points, 10 rebounds) and Simmons (11 points, 11 assists) both had double-doubles, and Gavin Block finished with nine points and five boards. The rest of the team, though, combined for seven points on 2-of-15 shooting.

Johnson and Thomas Pancake had 15 points each for the Hilltoppers, while Parris scored 14 points off the bench. Jabari McGhee also was big in a reserve role, finishing with seven points and 14 rebounds.

After shooting just 29.4 percent in the first half, Western Kentucky bounced back to shoot 52.0 percent in the second half. Ohio finished at 41.0 percent in the game, but made just 8 of 14 free throws, which included missing three of its final five.

The Bobcats close out non-conference play at 7 p.m. Dec. 30 when it hosts Division II Urbana at The Convo.

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