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Bobcats rally for gritty 4-overtime victory against Indiana State

Ohio overcomes a pair of large deficits to finish Charleston Classic with a win

CHARLESTON, S.C. – Ohio rallied from 18 down in the second half, from nine down in the second overtime and eventually outlasted Indiana State, 96-94, in four overtimes in the seventh-place game of the Charleston Classic on Sunday at T.D. Arena.

The already short-handed and undersized Bobcats (2-2) lost top reserve forward Kevin Mickle in the first half to an injury and then had two players foul out, but managed to win for the first time in the tournament. Mike Laster led the way with 25 points, while Jordan Dartis scored 21 points, and Teyvion Kirk finished with 20.

Laster’s layup with 1:35 left in the final overtime gave Ohio the lead for good. Trey Knight III made the second of two free throws, and Gavin Block gave the Bobcats a cushion with a three-point play with 45 seconds to go, making it 96-92.

The Sycamores (1-3) answered backed with a Qyidar Davis basket with 36 seconds to go, and then got the ball back with a chance to tie or win by forcing a shot clock violation with 5.6 seconds remaining. Brenton Scott’s 3-point try was off the mark, finally ending the marathon game.

Indiana State seemed to have the game in hand on at least a couple of occasions, including in the second overtime when Tyreke Key hit a 3-pointer to put the Sycamores up 77-68 with just 1:28 remaining.

Both teams missed shots before Laster scored a layup to make it a seven-point game with 40 seconds left. Key split two free throws a couple seconds later, and Kirk cut the Indiana State lead to 78-73 with a three-point play with 33 seconds remaining.

Jordan Barnes made two foul shots, followed by two by Kirk. A bad pass on the inbound allowed no time to go off the clock and set up a Dartis 3-pointer off the inbound play to make it 80-78 with still 23 seconds left. Barnes split two free throws, and Block knocked down a pump-fake pull-up 3-pointer to knot the game at 81 with 13 seconds left.

Barnes missed at the second-overtime buzzer.

Up 40-24 at halftime, Indiana State seemed to be in control, and not much changed for most of the second half. The Sycamores’ lead peaked at 49-32 with 16:23 left and was still 55-39 with 11:05 to go.

But a James Gollon 3-pointer was the start of a huge Ohio run. Kirk hit two free throws, Laster knocked down a trey, and Dartis scored a layup to quickly make it 55-49 with 8:10 remaining.

After Emondre Rickman scored to end the 10-0 run, Laster and Dartis hit back-to-back 3-pointers, and then Laster followed with a jumper to knot the game at 57 with 6:07 remaining. In all, it was an 18-2 spurt.

Indiana State went up 63-59 on a Key layup at the 2:42 mark, but Laster scored four straight free throws to tie the game again. Both teams had a chance to win in the final minute. Davis missed a jumper, Dartis was off on a 3-pointer with a few seconds left, and Barnes missed at the buzzer.

Block gave the Bobcats their first lead since the first minute of the game when he opened overtime with a 3-pointer, but baskets by Davis and Scott gave the Sycamores a one-point advantage. Dartis put Ohio back in front with 36 seconds left, and a Thomas free throw tied it with 17 seconds remaining.

With the final possession in the first overtime, Ohio got a driving layup attempt from Block, but it was too strong. Taylor’s tip missed, and he missed again after rebounding that shot, forcing a second overtime.

The Bobcats also had a chance to win in the third overtime. After Kirk’s driving layup tied it at 86 with 43 seconds to go, Ohio forced a turnover, but Kirk missed with a few seconds left. The Bobcats then were able to poke the ball away as the Sycamores tried to push it up for a final attempt.

Indiana State controlled the first half, using an early 11-2 run to take the lead and then a 13-2 run to go up 31-16. The lead reached 18 at 40-22 late in the first half.

Block and Dartis each played 54 of the 60 minutes in the game, while Kirk played 50 minutes, Laster 49 and Taylor 45. James Gollon was the key player off the bench with 28 minutes.

Already small because of injuries to starter Jason Carter and freshmen A.J. Gareri and Ben Vander Plas, Ohio became really undersized when Mickle’s injury midway through the first half left Taylor and Ellis Dozier as the only true forwards available. Dozier did not see any action.

When Taylor fouled out with 3:26 left in the third overtime, the 6-5 Gollon subbed in, leaving the 6-7 Block as the biggest player on the court for Ohio. Laster fouled out with 1:11 remaining, forcing freshman guard Zach Butler into the game. Kirk, Block and Gollon all finished with four fouls.

Kirk had a strong all-around game. In addition to his scoring, he had six rebounds, four assists and four steals. Taylor had seven points and 15 rebounds before fouling out, and Laster contributed seven rebounds. Gollon had six boards.

Indiana State got to the foul line twice as much as Ohio, finishing 29 of 38, compared to the Bobcats’ 17-of-20 effort. Ohio shot better from the field at 41.5 percent to Indiana State’s 35.4 percent. The Bobcats were at just 32.1 percent entering halftime.

Thomas led Indiana State’s balanced offense with 17 points, getting 12 of those at the free-throw line. Barnes tallied 16 points and six assists, and Davis had 15 points and 15 rebounds. Scott finished with 11 points and nine rebounds. Key fouled out with 14 points and seven boards.

Ohio will have time to rest before hosting Mount St. Mary’s at 7 p.m. Friday at The Convo.

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