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Remainder of basketball season canceled

Bobcats play final 5-on-5 scrimmage in Cleveland

CLEVELAND – Though there was a limited crowd, Ohio players warmed up on the court as usual before what was supposed to be the first game of the Mid-American Conference quarterfinals against Akron on Thursday morning.

Players were called off the floor and issued fever checks to see if anyone exhibiting any symptoms of the COVID-19 coronavirus, and shortly before the scheduled tip time of noon, players were allowed back on the floor to resume preparations for the game that then was pushed back to a 1 p.m. start time.

About 20 minutes later, though, the tournament was canceled for good, as conference tournaments across the nation made the same decisions. Later Thursday, the NCAA announced it would not be holding its Division I men’s and women’s basketball tournaments.

With that, the Bobcats opted to give it one last go, playing a short five-on-five session on the Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse court, complete with live play-by-play by radio broadcaster Russ Eisenstein.

It was a disappointing end of the season for a young Ohio team, which had won seven of its last 10 games to finish 17-15 under its first-year coach. Undoubtedly, it was even harder for seniors Jordan Dartis and Sylvester Ogbonda, who had their careers end at least one game prematurely.

“I feel badly for all seniors across the country whose season ended abruptly,” Boals said in a Tweet. “No closure and a lot of questions. However, I agree with the decisions made by the leaders of MAC Sports and the NCAA regarding the health and safety of all.”

Later, the MAC announced it would not hold championships in any spring sports either, cancelling those seasons as well.

Ohio football coach Frank Solich announced the suspension of the football program, which was in the midst of spring practices, on Friday morning.

“Our No. 1 concern is the safety of all current players and members of our program, as well as prospective student-athletes,” Solich said in a statement, adding that the team hoped to resume activities March 30, though that might not be possible either.

Classes at the university are being held online only at least through that date.

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