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Broncos hold off Bobcats 81-79

Western Michigan improves to 4-0 in MAC

KALAMAZOO, Mich. – Western Michigan used big run early in the second half to build a lead and then held off Ohio 81-79 to remain undefeated in Mid-American Conference play Saturday at Read Fieldhouse.

Down by a point with 13:56 to play, the Broncos outscored the Bobcats 12-1 over the next four-plus minutes, with the Bobcats missing eight straight field goal attempts while falling behind 60-50. The closes Ohio got was the final margin on a pair of Ajay Sheldon free throws with three seconds left.

AJ Clayton paced the Bobcats (7-9, 1-3 MAC) with 15 points. Shareef Mitchell and Aidan Hadaway had 13 points each.

The Broncos (7-9, 0-4 MAC) got 15 points from Seth Hubbard and 13 each from Artis B. White and JaVaughn Hannah.

Whit hit a 3-pointer that matched Western Michigan’s biggest lead of 10 at 73-63 with just 2:47 remaining, but Ohio got back in it with a quick 8-1 run. Mitchell made a layup, Hadaway knocked down a 3-pointer, and then Mitchell completed a three-point play with 1:30 left to make it 74-71.

Owen Lobsinger was clutch with a 3-pointer to double the Broncos’ lead. White made free throws that put Western Michigan ahead 79-72 with 47 seconds to play. Mitchell scored a layup, and after a Hannah free throw, Sheldon made a 3-pointer with 21 seconds left to put the score at 80-77.

Seth Hubbard split two free throws with 12 seconds remaining before Sheldon’s free throws with just three seconds to play.

The Bobcats got off to a great start, taking a 19-9 lead in the first seven minutes. The Broncos gradually worked their way back, tying the score at 25 on a Vaughn layup. They went up 34-31 on a bucket by Titus Wright and settled on a 37-36 lead at halftime.

Jaylin Hunter struggled for the second game in a row for Ohio, scoring just five points on 2-of-10 shooting. Already missing AJ Brown for the season because of shoulder surgery, Ohio lost Elmore James during the game with a late first-half injury.

Gabe Wiznitzer had his best half of basket for Ohio, scoring all nine of his points before halftime while seeing extra minutes because of foul trouble for Clayton. However, Wiznitzer ended up fouling out without a rebound in 12 minutes on the floor.

Western Michigan dominated the boards 45-29, including 13-8 on the offensive end. Ohio made up for it by forcing 13 turnovers while committing only five. Ultimately, the Broncos shot better at 47.3% to the Bobcats’ 43.3%.

Ohio has lost five of its last six games and seven of its last nine.

The Bobcats will try to get things turned around when they host Central Michigan at 7 p.m. Tuesday at The Convo.

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