ATHENS, Ohio –Led by double-doubles from both redshirt sophomore forward Jason Carter and sophomore guard Teyvion Kirk, the Ohio men's basketball team outlasted Austin Peay, 85-82, in overtime on Saturday (Nov. 24) inside the Convocation Center.
"We needed to close out the game a little better than that," fifth-year head coach Saul Phillips said. "We came out in the second half with a good lead and really squandered some nice opportunities with missed layups and missed free throws. We let them get a little taste of success and then their guards just started coming at us. We did get five stops in the last five possessions and that was ultimately the key to the game when we were sitting there down five. TK made a lot of winning plays. I think we got a little bit away from our identity offensively. We drifted off to the three a little too much. But, at the end of the day, you learn a lot about your team when they're starring at a five-point deficit down in overtime. We had little margin for error at that point and we got four scores and had five stops."
Carter (Johnstown, Ohio) finished the game with 25 points, tying his career high, and 10 rebounds. Carter went 11-of-22 from the field, while also dishing out four assists and two blocks. Kirk (Joliet, Ill.) also tied a career high with his 24 points. Kirk went 7-of-16 from the field, 1-of-3 from three-point range and 9-of-12 from the free throw line. Kirk also grabbed 10 rebounds and dished out four assists with one steal. Senior forward/guard Gavin Block (Lincoln, Ill.) and junior guard Antonio Cowart, Jr. (McComb, Miss.) also scored double figures, with Block scoring 11 and Cowart with 10.
"They were getting to the rim at will in the second half," Carter said. "Coach just started saying that we needed to surround the ball. It's hard to pass out of there when you have four guys around you and they weren't showing any willingness to pass at that point. I just came over to try and alter shots and trying to make them pass was the main goal there at the end of the game."
The Bobcats opened the game on an 8-1 run over the first two minutes of the game. Austin Peay would then cut the lead to two with 15:15 left in the half, however, with help from two three-pointers from Cowart, the Bobcats would go 12-5 run over the next three minutes to take a 25-14 lead. Redshirt freshman forward Ben Vander Plas (Ripon, Wis.) would drain a three of his own at the 10:33 mark, stretching Ohio's lead to 28-14 going into the media timeout.
With 8:39 left in the half, Ohio would take their largest lead of the game. After Kirk would be fouled on a made layup, he would hit his free throw to give the Bobcats a 36-18 lead. The Governors would cut the lead to 13 after a three-pointer from Chris Porter-Bunton, however a fast break layup from Kirk and a layup from Carter would put Ohio up, 42-25 with 30 seconds remaining. However, Austin Peay would hit a three with three seconds left, sending the teams to the locker room with the Bobcats leading 42-28.
At the half, the Bobcats shot 51.4 percent (18-of-35) from the field, 33.3 percent (4-of-12) and 66.7 percent (2-of-3) from the free throw line, while Austin Peay shot 33.3 percent (11-of-33) from the field, 25.0 percent (3-of-12) from three-point range and 60 percent (3-of-5) from the free throw line. The Bobcats outrebounded the Governors 24-17 and also dished out nine assists and had five steals compared the Austin Peay's four assists and four steals.
Carter would open the second half hitting a free throw, however, Austin Peay would then outscore Ohio 14-4 over the next four and half minute to cut the Bobcats lead to 47-42 at the 15:34 mark. A field goal from Kirk would bring Ohio's lead back to seven, however Austin Peay would cut the lead to one with 12:57 left in the game. After about a minute of little action, The Governors would tie the game at 49-49 before a jumper from Carter gave the Bobcats the 51-49 lead with 11:12 to go.
A layup and a free throw from Vander Plas would put the Bobcats back up four with 10:07 left, however, Austin Peay would go on a 7-0 run to take a 59-56 lead with 8:37 left in the game. A three from Kirk would tie the game back at 59-59. After Austin Peay would take a two-point lead again, Kirk would once again tie the game, making it 61-61 with 5:40 left in the game. The Bobcats and Governors would go back and forth the remainder of the half, with Ohio going up by four with 33 seconds left. Austin Peay would then hit a three with 26 seconds left to make the score 76-75 before Block hit one free throw to give the Bobcats a 77-75 lead with 23 seconds left. However, Kirk would miss two free throws with 11 seconds left, leaving Austin Peay plenty of time to score on the other end of the court, tying the game at 77-77 and sending the game to overtime.
Austin Peay would get two quick baskets to open the overtime period, taking an 82-77 lead with 3:40 left. After Kirk hit two free throws to cut the lead to 82-81 with 1:43 left, the Bobcats would get a total of five defensive stops, with Kirk and Block draining their free throws over the final 10 second, helping secure the 85-82 victory for the Bobcats.
As a team, the Bobcats finished the game shooting 43.7 percent (31-of-71) from the field, 23.1 (6-of-26) from three-point range and 63 percent (17-of-27) from the free throw line. Austin Peay finished shooting 43.1 percent (31-of-72) from the field, 36.8 (7-of-19) from the field, and 65 percent (13-of-20) from the free throw line. The Bobcats also outrebounded the Governors 50-41, while also dishing out 17 assists and recording six blocks, compared to Austin Peay's 12 assists and zero blocks. Ohio forced 16 turnovers and scored 17 points off of them, while also scoring 46 points in the paint and 16 second chance points, compared to APSU's 42 points in the paint and nine second chance points.
Austin Peay had five score in double figures and were led by Porter-Bunton who scored 16 points and grabbed five rebounds. Zach Glotta and Dayton Gumm both scored 15 points, while Terry Taylor and Steve Harris both scored 13 points. Taylor led the Governors with eight rebounds, while Harris added five assists for Austin Peay.
Up next, the Bobcats remain in Athens on Tuesday, Nov. 27 when Ohio hosts Iona. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m. inside the Convocation Center.