Nick Kellogg lifted up from the right wing and buried a 3-pointer as time expired to increase his total as the all-time MAC & Ohio 3-point basket leader. Unfortunately that basket left the Ohio Bobcats just short at a final score of 92-90, as they fell to the VMI Keydets in Athens, Ohio on Wednesday night.
Both teams picked up the bulk of their scoring from two players. VMI received outstanding efforts from seniors D.J. Covington and Rodney Glasgow. Covington, the 6'9'' force of a forward scored 29 points and pulled down 11 boards in a dominating effort. Glasgow showcased an excellent shooting stroke and a great ability to take Ohio defenders off of the dribble in scoring 30 points while going 4-of-6 from downtown. Glasgow also dished out five assists.
"They played really, really well" said Ohio head coach Jim Christian of the Keydets. "They made every big shot, they made every free throw, I give them credit."
Kellogg, in his final game in the Convocation Center, put together a doozy of a performance, going 9-of-14 from the field while making 6-of-10 from 3-point land.
Maurice Ndour showed no signs of the back troubles that have plagued him as of late, and came out on fire. Ndour missed his first shot with 11:57 left in the game, and had gone 9-of-9 from the field up to that point.
Ohio was able to keep its turnovers to three in the first, which was a big part of the 'Cats jumping out to a seven-point halftime lead.
Though Ohio led by as much as 16 (32-16) in the first half, the Keydets went on a 14-4 run over four minutes to cut the Ohio lead to six with 4:42 left in the half. The two squads fought to a 46-39 halftime score. It was the second half that did the Bobcats in.
VMI came out in the second half guns blazing and overtook the Bobcats about six minutes into the half on a long 3-pointer by Glasgow from the top of the key to put the Keydets up 54-53. The two squads followed by taking their best blows at one another. Stevie Taylor put Ohio back up one with a layup before Glasglow answered right back with another trey.
The game continued as such for a few minutes before VMI grabbed some semblance of control with 9:26 left in the game when Tim Marshall hit a dagger of a 3-pointer to put Ohio down 70-62.
The Keydets extended that lead to as much as 12 before the Bobcats roared back as Ohio fans have become accustomed to seeing. Down 84-72 with 3:55 left, the 'Cats scored 11 of the game's next 13 points. Kellogg and Ndour combined for nine of those points. But with under a minute left, Ohio used up the shot clock and did not get the hot-shooting Kellogg the ball. Instead, Taylor threw up a contested 25-foot shot that fell short and put the ball back in VMI hands. A layup and free throws sealed the deal, and the fate of Ohio's season.
"Like I said a million times ... the resiliency of this group to come back in games and play through injuries, guys got hurt and all that stuff, you know, there's a lot to build on" said Christian.
Ohio did struggle at times with the lack of depth as they played an eight man lineup with the absence of T.J. Hall who had a leg injury and Jon Smith who left the team at the conclusion of the MAC tournament.
The quarterfinals of the CollegeInsider.com Tournament may not have been where the Bobcats envisioned the end of their season taking place, but alas the season has ended, and MAC teams are now out of postseason play as a whole. And it was the last game for a MAC and Ohio great, Nick Kellogg.
"Obviously I wanted to win to keep playing ... have another chance to play in the 'Convo" said Kellogg. "... It didn't work out so, to go out on that note is something that I'm proud of."