Ever since Antonio Campbell has been out with injury, it seems as if Ohio has been in search of a player to step up.
And against Akron on Saturday afternoon, someone sure did take charge.
Jaaron Simmons dropped a career-high 38 points against the Zips to hand them their first conference loss of the season.
The redshirt junior set a career-high in both points and three-pointers made (5).
“I’ve been feeling good as of late,” Simmons said. “I’ve been getting a lot of reps up in practice and out of practice.”
The Bobcats held a five point lead in the first half, thanks in part to Simmons’ 13 points. The Zips didn’t lead at all in the first half, but fought back in the second, leading as late as with eight minutes to play.
But, unsurprisingly, it was Simmons who sealed the deal. Simmons scored thirteen of the team’s final seventeen points.
“That’s what he does,” teammate Gavin Block said. “That’s what he can do. That might not happen every night, but he can get you production like that. Everyone feeds off that, he’s a leader.”
Also big contributors were Jason Carter and Jordan Dartis, who had 11 and ten points, respectively.
Ohio’s generally shot well as a team, a much-needed improvement from their loss to Western Michigan on Tuesday. It shot 48% from the floor and was 30 of 38 from the free throw line.
Looking forward, Ohio’s win today will go a long way to helping them in March.
Snapping the Zips’ 12-game win streak, the Bobcats handed them their first conference loss of the season and are now just three games behind them in the eastern division standings.
Additionally, this will serve as a huge confidence booster for Ohio. And after a string of disappointing losses against Western Michigan, Eastern Michigan, and Toledo, a win was much needed.
Because to have a chance to make some noise in the MAC Tournament, they’re going to need to do what they did today: Beat the best.
“We’re not just another team in the MAC,” Block said. “We’re here to get on top and we took the team on top down today.”