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Hot-shooting Bobcats pull away in 2nd half

Hunter, Clayton combine to go 8-of-9 on 3-pointers

NASSAU, Bahamas – Jaylin Hunter scored 19 points as Ohio pulled away to beat Middle Tennessee 80-68 in a consolation semifinal game in the Baha Mar Hoops Nassau Championship on Saturday at the Baha Mar Convention Center.

Hunter broke out of a 3-point shooting slump by going 3-for-3 in the game and was 7-of-9 from the field overall in an efficient effort. AJ Clayton was 5-of-6 from 3-point range and scored 15 points, while Shareef Mitchell added 14 points in a balanced effort for the Bobcats (3-2).

Ohio led just 40-38 at halftime but gradually extended its advantage in the sending half, taking a 54-44 lead on an Ajay Sheldon 3-poitner with 14:17 remaining. It was a 63-55 game when the Bobcats scored eight straight, capped by consecutive Clayton 3-pointers, to make it 71-55 with eight minutes to go.

After that, the Blue Raiders (3-4) got no closer than nine points.

Ohio’s biggest lead of the first half was 34-25 on a Gabe Wiznitzer drunk off of a Sheldon steal with 3:48 left, but Middle Tennessee followed with an 8-0 run to make it just a one-point game and then tied it at 38 on a Justin Bufford 3-pointer. Mitchell put the Bobcats up for good with a jumper before halftime.

Elmore James and Wiznitzer tallied eight points each, with AJ Brown and Sheldon both scoring seven. Ohio shot 59.3% from the field, including 40.9% from long range.

Jared Coleman-Jones led Middle Tennessee with 17 points and eight rebounds. Elias King scored 15 points, and Jestin Porter and Bufford scored 11 points each. The Blue Raiders shot 44.2% overall but were just 6-of-26 (23.1%) on 3-pointers.

With the victory, Ohio advances to take on Brown in the fifth-place game of the tournament at 1:30 p.m. Sunday.

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