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Wilson's putback helps Ohio hold off Buffalo

Bobcats come up with defensive stops to win 76-75

AMHERST, N.Y. – Dwight Wilson III scored on a putback with 25 seconds remaining, and Ohio held off Buffalo 76-75 on Friday night at Alumni Arena.

Wilson, who scored a game-high 21 points, grabbed Ben Vander Plas’ miss and put it in off the backboard. Vander Plas blocked Jeenathan Williams’ shot, and Wilson recovered and was fouled. He missed on the front end of the one-and-one with 11 seconds to go, and Ronaldo Segu missed a highly contested 3-pointer at the buzzer.

Ben Roderick added 17 points, and Jason Preston had 14 points, nine rebounds and four assists for the Bobcats (10-6, 6-4 Mid-American Conference). Lunden McDay added 10 points.

"I'm super proud of our guys," Ohio coach Jeff Boals. "Last year, we were in a very, very similar situation and lost that one at the end. I told our guys great teams find a way to win."

Jayvon Graves led the Bulls (6-6, 4-4 MAC) with 18 points, and Williams and Josh Mballa had 14 points each, with Mball also pulling down 12 rebounds. Segu had 11 points.

After trailing 5-2 early, Ohio scored 13 straight points, capped by a McDay basket, to take a 15-5 lead, and it did not trail again until 40 seconds remained when Mballa put back a Williams miss to put the Bulls ahead by one.

"The start was really key," Boals said. "The ball was moving; we were hitting shots. Defensively, we were really active, and I thought that set the tone for the game."

Buffalo’s cut its first-half deficit to 29-27 with four minutes remaining, but Ohio came back with a 12-3 run, going up 41-30 on a Roderick 3-pointer. The Bobcats led by nine at halftime.

The Bulls used a 9-0 run in the middle of the second half to cut their deficit to 58-56 and then tied the game at 68 with five minutes to go on a Williams basket in the paint. Preston put Ohio back in front, and it held that lead until the final minute.

"We knew they were going to make a run at some point, but we withstood it," Boals said. "Great win for us."

Ohio shot 52.5% from the field despite going just 6 of 20 from 3-point range. Buffalo shot only 42.9%, but it had two more 3-pointers and five more free throws made.

The Bobcats take on Central Michigan at 7 p.m. Tuesday in Mount Pleasant, Michigan.

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