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Kirk's banked-in 3-pointer helps Ohio avoid collapse against Detroit

Titans take brief lead after trailing by 19 in 2nd half

DETROIT – Teyvion Kirk’s banked-in 3-pointer with 46 seconds left helped Ohio survive against Detroit Mercy 63-61 on Saturday at Calihan Hall.

The Bobcats led 52-33 with 12:21 remaining after a Ben Vander Plas 3-pointer but the Titans rallied to take the lead late. They had a chance to win at the buzzer but Harrison Curry’s 3-point try at the buzzer was off the mark.

Antoine Davis hit a jumper with 1:14 left to give Detroit its first lead since early in the first half, 61-60, but Kirk’s 3-pointer answered and put Ohio up by two. Tra’Quan Knight missed two foul shots with 32 seconds to go, and Kirk missed two free throws a few seconds later.

Detroit (3-8) opted to hold for the last shot, likely looking for Davis, but Ohio (7-3) was able to keep the ball out of his hands at the end.

Jason Carter led the Bobcats with 20 points, while Kirk had 16 points and seven rebounds but also eight of the team’s 21 turnovers. Doug Taylor had 9 points and 13 rebounds before fouling out.

Davis led the Titans with 19 points but he was just 6 of 21 from the field, including 3 of 11 from long range. Curry had 12 points.

Detroit quickly worked its way back into the game in the final 12 minutes, beginning with a Curry 3-pointer that started a 9-0 run. Josh McFolley’s free throws with 9:52 left got the Titans to within 52-42 with still 9:52 remaining.

Davis connected from deep with 7:05 left, making it 53-47, and after Ohio went back up by nine, an 8-0 run drew the Titans to within one when Knight split a pair of free throws at the 3:14 mark. Carter and Knight traded free throw makes, and Davis’ go-ahead jumper followed a Bobcats turnover.

The possession that followed by Ohio was far from executed well but a bit of luck nonetheless made it good enough.

"It was a bad possession and a bad shot,” Ohio coach Saul Phillips said. “But what a big shot. It went in. I'm not giving it back. There's a winning component to him when things are big."

Detroit took an early six-point lead, the Bobcats tied the game at 12, and the Titans went back up by six with back-to-back 3-pointers by Josh McFolley and Derrien King.

Ohio took its first lead 21-20 on a Jason Preston jumper. Detroit tied the game at 30 on a Chris Brando layup before Kirk made a free throw with 2:32 left to give the Bobcats a lead they held until the final minute of the game. He missed the second attempt from the line but wound up with the rebound and turned it into a three-point play and a four-point possession. A bucket by Preston at the end of the half gave Ohio a 36-30 lead.

With Ohio lead 40-33, Preston hit a shot in the paint, and a Carter three-point play with 15:05 remaining pushed the Bobcats’ lead to double digits for the first time at 45-33. Carter added a dunk, Taylor a layup and Vander Plas a 3-pointer to cap the 12-0 run.

The bigger Bobcats were tough on the boards with a 42-29 advantage.

Detroit got back in the game despite shooting just 27.6 percent (8 of 29) in the second half and finished just 19 of 54 (35.2 percent) overall. Ohio shot 43.1 percent (22 of 51).

Ohio returns to action at 7 p.m. Thursday with a trip to Purdue.

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