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Brown's career-high 24 points not enough in MAC opener

Bulls fail at foul line but hold off Bobcats 75-72

BUFFALO, N.Y. – Buffalo’s poor free-throw shooting late left the door open for Ohio to rally, but a Miles Brown 3-pointer in the final seconds was off the mark, and the Bulls held on for a 75-72 victory to begin Mid-American Conference play Tuesday night at Alumni Arena.

Miles Brown scored a career-high 24 points, but it was not enough for Ohio (8-6, 0-1 MAC). Jaylin Hunter added 10 points.

The Bulls led by as many as 10 points in the second half, and after the Bobcats got to within two, back-to-back baskets by Laquill Hardnett made it 73-67 with 1:18 to go.

Brown scored to make it a four-point game, and Ohio turned it over on a chance to get even closer. Armoni Foster split two free throws with 27 seconds left, and after another Bobcats miss, Foster missed twice at the line. That set up an AJ Clayton 3-pointer to make it 74-72 with 12 seconds left.

Curtis Jones missed the second of two free throws with 7.8 seconds left to give Ohio a shot at the end.

“AJ Clayton had a big 3,” Ohio coach Jeff Boals said. “We executed the play out of the timeout really well and got a great look at the tie. When you go on the road in this league, every possession matters, and we'll learn from it."

The Bobcats jumped out to a 9-2 lead early and led much of the first half before the Bulls went on a 12-0 run and then later led by as much as 38-25 on an Isaiah Adams 3-pointer.

Ohio cut its deficit to 39-32 on a Brown 3-pointer before the break and then actually briefly regained the lead with the first 10 points of the second half. The Bulls followed with the next 12 points for a 51-42 advantage.

Dwight Wilson had a double-double of eight points and 10 rebounds for the Bobcats, while AJ Brown struggled to eight points on 1-of-9 shooting. Clayton scored seven points with nine rebounds.

Jones paced the Bulls with 20 points and nine rebounds, with Hardnett putting up 15 points and 16 rebounds. Adams scored 14 points and Foster 12 points.

Neither team shot well overall – Ohio 37.5% and Buffalo 37.0% - but the Bulls managed 17 second-chance points on 20 offensive rebounds.

"I thought we got off to the start that we wanted to on the road," Boals said. "I thought we really battled. Obviously, giving up 20 offensive rebounds on the road hurt you and the 14 turnovers hurt you and those were two big keys coming into the game.”

Ohio takes on Bowling Green at 5 p.m. Saturday at the Stroh Center.

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