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Laster, Carter step up to lead Bobcats past Huskies

Ohio has offensive balance in big road win

DeKALB, Ill. – At least for one game, Ohio had the answer on how to replace the production of injured Mid-American Conference Player of the Year Antonio Campbell.

Jaaron Simmons scored a season-high 23 points, and freshman Jason Carter posted his second career double-double in his first start with 15 points and 12 rebounds. Jordan Dartis and Mike Laster each scored 14 points – 12 more than Laster’s average coming in – and the Bobcats topped Northern Illinois, 78-69, on Saturday in DeKalb.

The Bobcats (12-5, 4-2 MAC) led most of the way and answered a late run by the Huskies (12-7, 4-2 MAC) with one of their own to pull it out.

Northern Illinois took a 59-57 lead on a Marin Maric basket with 6:21 remaining, but Ohio had the answer down the stretch, beginning with one of Laster’s four 3-pointers. A Dontel Highsmith free throw with 5:53 to go tied it before the Bobcats took the lead for good on a Doug Taylor tip-in.

Dartis knocked down a trey to give Ohio some breathing room, and Simmons scored off a steal to answer a Maric layup. After a Jaylen Key basket, Laster attacked the basket for two points, and Simmons hit a step-back jumper to push the lead to 71-64 with 2:20 remaining.

Simmons added a layup, Carter made a free throw, and Simmons hit two more free throws to cap the late 9-0 run.

Maric paced the Huskies with 16 points, freshman Eugene German scored 15 points off the bench, and Key and Levi Bradley had 11 points each.

After the teams played even for the first 15 minutes, Ohio built a lead late in the first half, beginning with a Carter 3-pointer that put them up 26-23. Dartis followed with one of his own, and the Bobcats led 39-32 at the break following a Simmons layup.

Dartis’ 3-pointer early in the second half gave Ohio its biggest lead to that point, 42-33.

Northern Illinois got within a point, 49-48, at the 11:11 mark on a Bradley jumper, but Ohio managed to hold the lead until German tied the game at 57 with a layup with less than seven minutes remaining. Maric followed with the basket that gave the Huskies their only lead of the second half.

Ohio shot 49.2 percent from the field, including 10 of 25 (40 percent) on 3-pointers. Northern Illinois made 44.3 percent of its shots, but only 4 of 12 3-pointers and 11 of 21 (52.4 percent) free throws.

Northern Illinois had 14 offensive rebounds to eight by Ohio, but had only a 15-14 advantage in second-chance points.

Ohio hosts Toledo at 7 p.m. Tuesday at The Convo.

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