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Bobcats shoot 40 free throws in 2nd half of win over Eagles

Dartis, Laster have career-high scoring games

YPSILANTI, Mich. – Ohio’s answer to Eastern Michigan’s zone defense was free throws.

The Bobcats went 33 of 42 at the foul line, with all but two of those in the second half, helping them to a 79-71 victory for back-to-back wins for the first time since Antonio Campbell was injured in a loss to the Eagles nine games ago.

Jordan Dartis was 12 of 12 at the foul line while scoring a career-high 26 points, while Mike Laster came off the bench to score 16 points – also a career high. Kenny Kaminski had 13 points, and Jason Carter finished with 11 points and 14 rebounds.

Willie Mangum IV paced the recently struggling Eagles (13-13, 5-8 Mid American Conference) with 19 points, Ty Toney had 16 points, and James Thompson IV had 14 points and 12 rebounds before fouling out in 26 minutes.

Leading just 54-53 after a Mangum jumper with 6:14 remaining, the Bobcats (16-8, 8-5 MAC) went on a 10-0 run to take control. Kaminski made two free throws, Laster knocked down a 3-pointer, and Carter followed with a basket inside. Dartis made two foul shots and Carter one to make it 64-53 with 3:49 to go.

The last three free throws came as a result of Thompson’s fifth foul and his second technical foul that followed. He and Gavin Block were called for offsetting technicals in the first half, but it hurt Thompson much worse. He picked up his fourth personal foul with 13:51 to go.

Rodney Culver’s free throw with 1:02 to go made it 71-59, but Eastern Michigan made it interesting with point guard Jaaron Simmons on the bench after his fifth foul and subsequent technical with 2:57 to go. Toney hit two foul shots, and after a Tim Bond steal, Jordan Nobles scored two points.

Dartis made two free throws to bring the margin back to 10, but Toney hit a 3-pointer, and after a steal, Mangum drained one from deep to make it 73-69. Dartis made two free throws, and Nobles scored again, came up with another steal but missed a short jumper that could have made it a two-point game. Ohio closed out the game at the foul line.

The Bobcats went up 15-7 seven and a half minutes into the game on a Kaminski 3-pointer. Eastern Michigan rallied to tie the game at 18 with 5:29 left in the half, and the teams ended an ugly offensive first half with the score knotted at 26.

Neither team led by more than four in the second half until Ohio’s late run.

After two straight 30-point games, Simmons struggled for the second game in a row, finishing with just seven points on 1-of-6 shooting. He had eight assists.

Ohio held a 44-35 rebounding advantage, but had more turnovers, 18-12.

The Eagles shot just 34.3 percent in the game and went 17 of 25 at the foul line.

Ohio hosts Bowling Green at 2 p.m. Saturday at The Convo.

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