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Bobcats can't take advantage of fast start

Eastern Michigan recovers after going down 12-0 early

ATHENS – Ohio’s hot start and late push were not enough as it dropped a 66-57 decision to Eastern Michigan on Tuesday night at The Convo.

The Bobcats scored the game’s first 12 points and closed on a 16-6 run but got outscored 60-29 in between, in large part due to its continued offensive struggles. They shot 41.8 percent in the game and just 25 percent on 3-pointers.

Jason Carter and Teyvion Kirk scored 18 points each as the only Ohio players in double figures. The rest of the team combined to go 8 of 27.

Elijah Minnie had 19 points, while James Thompson IV had 18 points and 15 rebounds for the Eagles (11-13, 5-6 Mid-American Conference).

Kirk had six of his points during Ohio’s 12-0 run in the first six minutes of the game. Eastern Michigan finally got on the board with Thompson free throws at the 13:49 mark and made its first field goal – after nine straight misses to start the game – on a Thompson dunk with 12:50 left in the first half. That was the start of a 16-4 run by the Eagles to tie the game.

"With the start we got off too, I felt we showed good focus and good energy," Ohio coach Saul Phillips said. "We were finding gaps in the zone early on. They're hands and activity on the ball with deflections and little things, that made a difference. I didn't' think we necessarily pass faked well enough for big chucks of the game and you need to do that against the zone that is as active as Eastern's.”

Eastern Michigan closed the first half with a 9-0 run to take a 31-24 lead at halftime, and it used a 21-5 run early in the second half to blow open the game with a 52-32 lead at the 10:36 mark. Ohio (11-12, 3-7 MAC) trailed by 20 with two minutes to go before getting as close as seven.

"They adjusted well and we did not," Ohio’s Gavin Block said said. "We got complacent and they amped up the pressure a little bit and they're really long, so credit to them. We didn't hit the kill shot, I guess you could say. We were not the aggressors."

Ohio takes on Central Michigan at 4:30 p.m. Saturday in Mount Pleasant.

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