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Turnovers cost Bobcats in 69-60 loss to Broncos

Western Michigan pulls away in final 5 minutes

KALAMAZOO, Mich. – Twenty turnovers were the undoing of Ohio in a 69-60 loss Saturday at Western Michigan.

The Bobcats outshot the Broncos but finished with 13 less field goal and 12 less free throw tries because of the turnover disparity and offensive rebounding. Western Michigan committed only nine turnovers and had 14 offensive rebounds to Ohio’s six.

Teyvion Kirk led the Bobcats (10-14, 3-9 Mid-American Conference) with 14 points but also had six turnovers. Gavin Block had 13 points and four turnovers. Jordan Dartis scored 13 points, while Mike Laster had 12 points.

"Second half, we started moving the ball a little bit better," Ohio coach Saul Phillips said. "We started getting basket cuts. We shot 53.6 percent from the field. But, that first half, we just turned it over too much to get any real traction, and it's too bad."

Thomas Wilder paced Western Michigan (15-10, 7-5 MAC) with 19 points, Reggie Jones scored 13 points, and Brandon Johnson scored 10 points.

Even so, Ohio made a run to take the lead with five minutes to go after trailing by as many as 10 points. Kirk’s bucket put the Bobcats up 53-52, but it did not last long. Drake Lamont answered for Western Michigan, and Josh Davis hit two free throws on the next possession.

Bryce Moore made two foul shots, and after a Wilder steal, Jones hit a 3-pointer to make it 61-53 with 3:29 remaining. Laster finally ended the run at nine with two free throws to make it 61-55 with 2:57 to go, but Ohio did not get any closer until a Block 3-pointer made it 65-60 with 16 seconds left.

The Bobcats jumped out to an 11-6 lead early following back-to-back 3-pointers by Dartis, who was coming off a career game with 38 points. His hot shooting finally cooled off, though, and Ohio got sloppy with 12 turnovers in the first half alone. A 9-0 Broncos run put them up 21-16 with 5:11 to go and they only trailed the one time after that.

Ohio was 23 of 53 (43.4 percent) from the field, including 9 of 22 (40.9 percent) on 3-pointers, and made 5 of 9 free throws. Western Michigan shot 25 of 66 (37.9 percent) from the field, including 6 of 24 (25 percent) on 3-pointers, and made 13 of 21 free throws.

Next up for Ohio is a road trip to Toledo at 7 p.m. Tuesday.

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