It felt like Ohio should be losing for most of the game. And yet, there the Bobcats were, up 62-59 after a Jordan Dartis 3-pointer with 10 minutes to go. Florida State responded with its own run and held off a feisty bunch of Bobcats for the 90-81 win.
The lead for Ohio lasted all of 40 seconds, but Ohio just refused to go away late. It wasn't until two FSU free throws put the 'Noles up 81-71 with 2:35 to go that it felt like the game was out of reach.
Meanwhile let's get back to Dartis. Holy cow the kid had a game. The kid looks like he's 16, but he plays like a seasoned vet. This isn't the first time that he showed the ability to take over in a big situation. In Ohio's game against Tennessee State, Dartis hit several clutch buckets. On Monday he scored 24 points on 7-11 shooting, which included 4 3-pointers. Hard takes to the basket, finishing through contact? Easy as pie for Dartis. Preferably pumpkin pie given the time of year. The dude deserves some pie after this one. Someone get Jordan Dartis some pie. Is it Thanksgiving yet?
Despite cooling off a bit on his last few shots, it's obvious that Kenny Kaminski is finding his groove shooting the ball. He started 5-5 from the field and ended 6-11 with 5 treys for 18 points.
Antonio Campbell did a better job playing to not foul in this one and finished with 17 points and 11 rebounds, but the Seminole bigs were able to finish around the hoop with 38 points in the paint.
Ohio shot 50 percent from the field and 10-24 from distance. The 'Cats did reasonably well on the boards, losing that battle just 33-27.
Ohio trailed just 45-38 at the half despite the fact that the team's leading scorer on the season, Jaaron Simmons, had yet to score. Simmons struggled with foul trouble early and in the second half, picking up his fourth foul at the 12:06 mark of the latter period. Despite this fact, Ohio went on a role with Dartis leading the way, and went from down 58-54 to that previously mentioned 62-59 lead. But it was downhill from there.
The turnover issue reemerged for Simmons, who finished with 3 points, 6 assists and 7 turnovers. At times, the Ohio offense looked more efficient in its half court offense with Dartis running things. Don't place too much emphasis on this fact though, Simmons is still the better option to run the offense easily. Ohio will benefit immensely when it can get both of these two playing off each other as a backcourt stronghold.
All the game offered the Bobcats was a chance to finish fourth in the Paradise Jam. They could have packed it in and gone home. The response from coach Saul Phillips' team was actually pretty encouraging against a more athletic FSU squad.