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DiLeo's FTs in final second of double OT makes Chippewas a winner

Bobcats shoot poorly from foul line, give up late double-digit lead

ATHENS – David DiLeo knocked down three free throws with .9 seconds left to give Central Michigan a 101-98 double-overtime victory against Ohio on Saturday at The Convo.

Mike Laster tied the game on a drive to the hoop with 15 seconds left, but his free throw that could have given Ohio the lead was off the mark. DiLeo used a pump fake to get freshman AJ Gareri in the air and then drew contact in the final second.

“Should've never got to overtime,” Ohio coach Saul Phillips said. “Thought we did everything we needed to execute offensively. We weren't able to finish off possessions and make free-throws. Offensively, that's the best we've looked in some time. Fifty-one percent from the field. We hit 36 field goals; 24 were off of assists. That's a boat load, and the assists kind of came from everywhere. I thought the guys who were out there tonight played really, really hard. I wish I could've figured out a way for them to get a W.”

Cecil Williams paced the Chippewas (15-8, 4-6 Mid-American Conference) with 27 points, while Shawn Roundtree scored 22 points. Luke Meyer had 14 points, Kevin McKay scored 13 points off the bench, and DiLeo had 8 points and 14 rebounds.

Laster and Teyvion Kirk each scored 24 points to lead Ohio, but Laster fouled out near the end of regulation when the Bobcats were unable to hold a 10-point lead with 3:15 remaining. Gavin Block had 16 points, eight rebounds and five assists, Doug Taylor scored 14 points with 10 rebounds, and James Gollon had 13 points, six rebounds, five assists and three steals.

Gollon split two free throws with 3:17 to go to give Ohio a 72-62 lead. DiLeo followed with a 3-pointer, and Gollon scored through contact but missed a free throw that could have put the advantage back at 10. Ohio (9-13, 2-8 MAC) was just 16 of 31 at the foul line. The nation’s leading free-throw shooting team, Central Michigan was 31 of 36.

"We missed our free throws. They made theirs," Laster said. "We shot 16 for 30-some, and they shot a real high number from the free throw line. It's not really a good feeling."

A pair of Williams free throws made it 74-67 with 2:48 remaining, and Kirk answered with two of his own on the other end. Roundtree made two foul shots at the 2:32 mark, and a Williams steal led to a McKay layup to make it a five-point game.

Kirk split two free throws with 2:13 left, and Williams followed with a dunk. Following an Ohio miss, Roundtree drew Kirk’s fifth foul and made two at the foul line to get his team within two with 1:26 to go.

After Zach Butler missed from long range, McKay scored on a putback of a Roundtree missed 3-pointer, tying the game at 77 with 29 seconds left. Laster drew a foul with 5 seconds to go but missed both free throws. Roundtree missed at the buzzer for Central Michigan.

With a Taylor dunk and a Block layup, the Bobcats took an early lead in the first overtime, and they went up five on a Laster 3-pointer with 2:29 to go. Josh Kozinski answered with a 3 of his own to make it 84-82 with 1:28 left. Block made two foul shots to put Ohio’s lead back at two possessions, but DiLeo hit two foul shots, and after a Williams steal, he hit a jumper to knot the game at 86.

Laster moved the Bobcats back in front one more time with a 3-pointer with 12 seconds to go. Williams answered with a lucky shot, though, banking in the game-tying shot from the wing high off the corner of the glass. Block’s runner at the first-overtime buzzer was short.

Williams hit two free throws with 3:40 to go in the second overtime to give Central Michigan its first lead of the day. Later in the period, Gareri hit a 3-pointer to put Ohio back in front, 96-95. Roundtree tied the game with a free throws, and Meyer split two free throws to put Central Michigan ahead by one. Roundtree made one of two with 30 seconds remaining, making it 98-96 ahead of Laster’s game-tying bucket and DiLeo’s game-winning foul shots.

Ohio was down to just eight scholarship players for the game, including the seldom-used Ellis Dozier, with both Kevin Mickle and Jordan Dartis sitting out with injuries. When Taylor became the second Ohio player to foul out with 3:10 left in the second overtime, the Bobcats were down to only five regular-rotation players and essentially were without the ability to substitute unless they were to bring in Dozier or a walk-on. All five Bobcats starters played 37 more of the game’s 50 minutes, led by Laster, who played 46 minutes.

"We're not happy we lost at all, but we made a huge stride today," Kirk said. "We were struggling offensively. Today we emphasized passing the ball and reversing it. Playing together. We had some success there."

Ohio scored the game’s first 10 points and held a lead as big as 14-2. Central Michigan followed with a 17-5 run to tie the game midway through the first half, and the Bobcats eventually went into halftime with a 36-31 lead.

The Bobcats went up double digits early in the second half, 43-32, and held their biggest lead, 55-42, with 12:21 remaining. After Central Michigan was able to get within three, Ohio pushed the lead back to 10 in the final minutes.

Ohio hosts Akron in former coach John Groce’s return to The Convo at 7 p.m. Tuesday.

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