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Davidson rallies past Ohio 72-69 in Cleveland

Bobcats finish nonconference play 6-6

CLEVELAND – Davidson rallied from a double-digit second-half deficit to beat Ohio 72-69 on Saturday afternoon in the Legends of Basketball Showcase at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse.

The Bobcats held a 45-35 lead early in the second half, allowed the Wildcats to take the lead at 50-48 with 14:08 to go, and then went back up 61-55 with 7:01 remaining. Reed Bailey completed a three-point play and then scored a go-ahead layup with 2:57 to play. From there, the teams went back and forth.

AJ Clayton scored, only to be answered by Bailey. Shareef Mitchell’s three-point play with 1:27 to go put the Bobcats (6-6) on top by two before Bailey tied the score with two free throws. After an Ohio miss, Bailey split two free throws to make it 68-67 with 27 seconds left.

Ohio turned it over, and Bobby Durkin made one free throw with 19 seconds to go. Elmore James missed for Ohio, and Durkin again split two free throws to put the score at 70-67 with 10 seconds remaining. Mithcell was fouled with seven seconds left and made the first before a miss.

Durkin split two again with five seconds left, and again, with a three-point lead, Davidson elected to foul Mitchell. He made the first, missed the second, and the Wildcats rebounded. Connor Kochera made one free throw to put the margin back at three, and Jaylin Hunter missed an attempt at the buzzer.

Bailey tied teammate Grant Huffman with a game-best 15 points. Kochera had 14 points, and Durkin scored 13 points in a balanced effort.

Ohio also had balance, led by Clayton with 13 points and six rebounds. Hunter scored 12 points and added seven assists, and Mitchell tallied 11 points. Both James and Miles Brown scored nine points, with Brown matching Aidan Hadaway with a game-high nine rebounds.

Davidson had its biggest lead of the night at 28-20 and then again at 30-22 with 5:24 left in the first half, but Ohio answered with a 20-3 run, taking a 40-31 lead on a Brown 3-pointer. The Wildcats scored at the buzzer to trail by seven.

The Bobcats’ biggest lead was 10 less than a minute into the second half.

The teams finished with similar shooting numbers from the field, but Davidson went 22-of-36 at the foul line, compared to 16-of-27 for Ohio.

Before the game, Ohio announced that sophomore AJ Brown had shoulder surgery and would miss the rest of the season.

It was the fourth loss in five games for Ohio, with its only win in that stretch against Division III Defiance. The losses were by a combined 18 points.

Mid-American Conference play begins with the Bobcats hosting Toledo at 7 p.m. Tuesday.

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