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Gollon lost for year with injury but helps Bobcats beat Broncos

Ohio connects on 10 3-pointers in 81-76 victory

ATHENS – Ohio found its outside touch and a win but lost one of the key players who helped it find them.

James Gollon knocked down three 3-pointers and scored 13 points in the first half but tore his Achilles’ tendon just before halftime in Ohio’s 81-76 victory against Western Michigan on Tuesday night at The Convo.

Gollon was a huge spark off the bench in just eight minutes of play before the injury, which will cause him to miss the rest of the season. He was 3 of 4 from long range and added four free throws. His performance helped the offensive struggling Bobcats to go 10 of 23 from long range. Gavin Block was the other catalyst, going 5 of 9 on 3-pointers and scoring 16 points.

"Twenty-eight field goals and 22 assists, that's the narrative of tonight for me," Ohio coach Saul Phillips. "We talked about moving the ball more. We talked about scoring more off cuts and passes that make other people better, and that's what we got on the offensive end.

Ohio (10-8, 2-4 Mid-American Conference) was 7 of 14 on 3-pointers in the first half, and that hot shooting helped it erase a quick deficit after Western Michigan (6-12, 0-6 MAC) ran out to a 15-1 lead. Down 22-11, the Bobcats began a 12-0 run with a Teyvion Kirk free throw. Gollon hit two straight 3-pointers, and after a Doug Taylor layup, another Gollon 3-pointer gave the Bobcats a 23-22 lead just past the midway point in the first half.

Then a couple of minutes later, down a point, Ohio went on an 11-0 run that included a 3-pointer by Ben Vander Plas and two by Block, the last of which put the Bobcats up 34-24 with 4:45 to go in the half.

Later, Gollon added four straight free throws when Western Michigan’s Josh Davis was called for a technical foul. Jason Carter added two from the line on the actual foul to make it a six-point possession. Gollon’s injury occurred about a minute later.

It was just Gollon’s sixth game back after missing the start of the year with an injury. He also missed his sophomore season with an injury and has one year of eligibility remaining.

Western Michigan cut its deficit to 44-37 by halftime and got as close as 46-44 early in the second half. Block answered with a 3-pointer, and after a Broncos bucket, he struck again to make it 52-46.

Again, Western Michigan made it close, drawing to within 52-50 on a Seth Dugan basket, and once more, Ohio responded. Kirk hit a jumper that began an 11-0 run that was punctuated with a Taylor dunk that made it a 13-point game with 10 minutes left.

Michael Flowers hit a 3-pointer to cut the Broncos’ deficit to 76-72 with 4:22 to go, and with 1:40 remaining, William Boyer-Richar’s free throws made it a 78-76 game. Carter answered with two free throws and Block added one to close it out.

Kirk scored 16 points on 5-of-9 shooting with five assists, three steals and only two turnovers, and Carter finished with 14 points and seven rebounds. Jason Preston, coming off the bench, had 6 points, nine assists and five rebounds.

Flowers finished with 24 points and Dugan scored 23 points and added 15 rebounds for the Broncos but their teammates were a combined 10 of 31 from the field.

“Defensively, between Flowers hitting bombs and Dugan getting us pretty good inside, I haven't said this in a while, but we did just enough defensively to get by tonight,” Phillips said. “Our offense actually pulled us out of the fire. I know we can defend. We've defended a good chunk out of the year. This is encouraging because I think that's still our strength. The ball got moved around, we hit shots, because they were good shots. It was a good team win tonight."

Ohio tries to sweep the season series with Ball State when it hosts the Cardinals at 2 p.m. Saturday at The Convo.

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