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Free throws the difference down stretch in Ohio loss

Gaels make all 13 from the line

ATHENS – Ohio erased an 11-point second-half deficit, but free throws down the stretch ultimately were the difference as Iona took a 93-88 victory Tuesday night at The Convo.

Iona (2-4) made all 13 of its free-throw tries in the game, including six in the final 2 minutes, while Ohio (3-3) made 9 of 15 overall but missed 3 of 4 in the final minute.

The Bobcats trailed by double digits as late as the 4:58 mark in the second half on a TK Edogi basket, but hot shooting from the outside got Ohio back in it. Jordan Dartis connected on a 3-pointer, and after an EJ Crawford basket, Gavin Block and Dartis hit back-to-back 3-pointers to make it 81-78 with 3:24 remaining.

Rickey McGill hit two foul shots before a Teyvion Kirk layup and then a Block trey tied the game at 83 with 2:45 to go.

The Gaels regained the lead on two more Edogi free throws and doubled their advantage to four on a Crawford turnaround jumper with the shot clock expiring with 57 seconds left.

Block missed a 3-point try, but Ohio retained possession on a ball out of bounds, and Doug Taylor scored a layup on the inbounds play with 42 seconds left. Dartis deflected Iona’s pass in, and Kirk collected the ball and was fouled, but after a timeout, he missed on the front end of a one-and-one.

With still 42 seconds left facing a two-point deficit, the Bobcats did not have to foul. Edogi initially did not handle a lob pass for him at the rim, but he was able to collect the loose ball and powered up for a basket inside to make it 89-85 with 20 seconds left.

Block was fouled on a 3-point try with 9 seconds left, but he made just the second of the three foul shots. Edogi hit two at the line a second later, and after a quick layup by Kirk, Zach Lewis hit two more free throws with a second left to put it away.

Mike Laster paced Ohio with 23 points, while Block had 18, Dartis finished with 15, and Kirk scored 14.

Crawford and Edogi had 20 each to lead the Gaels, with Lewis scoring 16 and McGill tallying 15.

Ohio’s biggest deficit was 72-61 with 9:24 left on an Edogi three-point play.

Iona had an early 12-point deficit on a Block 3-pointer five minutes into the game and then again about 30 seconds later after Dartis answered a Lewis trey with one of his own, making it 21-9. Still trailing 31-21 with 8:08 left in the first half, Iona evened the score with a 10-0 run, and the score was tied at halftime at 42.

The Gaels used a 16-4 run early in the second half to go up 63-54.

Ohio shot well from the field, making 33 of 65 shots (50.8 percent). It was 13 of 28 (46.4 percent) on 3-pointers. Iona was a solid 33 of 71 (46.5 percent) on field goals, including 14 of 35 (40 percent) on 3-pointers.

Zach Butler gave Ohio a boost off the bench with 8 points in 17 minutes. Taylor scored only 4 points but had 13 rebounds. Kirk and Dartis each had 5 assists, but Kirk committed 5 turnovers.

Edogi had 12 rebounds, and McGill passed out 7 assists for Iona.

Ohio hosts Coppin State at 7 p.m. Friday at The Convo.

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