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Ohio Bobcats vs. Toledo Rockets men's basketball final: Bobcats escape Savage Arena, winning 81-79

Ohio yielded two HUGE leads for Toledo to come back multiple times, but it was the Bobcats who came away satisfied with a win.

It started with a bang on the offensive end for Ohio. Toledo climbed back into the game. Ohio built up another big lead. Toledo came all the way back and tied the game. Finally, Ohio did just enough to squeeze out an 81-79 win, but not before a Jonathan Williams 3-point shot rimmed around the cylinder and nearly brought Savage Arena down.

Toledo mounted a jaw-dropping second half run to go from down 52-30 to tied 74-74 with 3:47 to go. Jonathan Williams and Nathan Boothe were the usual suspects, and deserve virtually all the credit for the run that put Toledo right back in the midst of things with the Bobcats.

After both squads picked up defensive stops, Kenny Kaminski drilled an insanely clutch 3-pointer from a few feet beyond the 3-point arc at the top. Kenny had "ONIONS" as they say. Kaminski started the night on fire, which is nothing out of the usual, but in encouraging fashion, more treys rained down for the sharp-shooting big man. Kaminski tallied 22 points which included five 3-point buckets that highlighted the evening.

Toledo's Nate Navigato responded with a triple of his own to tie it back up.

Jaaron Simmons forced the issue on Ohio's next possession and earned two free throws that he subsequently sunk to put Ohio up 79-77.

What might have been the play of the game ensued under the Ohio basket when, out of a timeout, Antonio Campbell stripped a driving Nathan Boothe of the ball to get Ohio the ball back. Treg Setty sank two more freebies, and Ohio took to defense again.

The Rockets were bailed out on a foul call on a Jaelan Sanford attempt from beyond the arc. Sanford cooly sank two but clanged the third off the back of the iron. Jordan Lauf grabbed the offensive board, kicked out to Williams, who attempted what would have been a game-winner. It looked good off his hand, and at it dipped slightly into the bucket, before falling out and into the hands of Setty who secured the Ohio win.

The Bobcats jumped out to a 32-11 lead over the game's first 12 minutes before a mad dash brought Toledo all the way back. The Rockets benefitted from some foul trouble later on in the half, scoring in bunches to pull it to 37-30 in the half. Despite shooting just 33.7 percent from the floor in the half, the Rockets found themselves down just seven.

Ohio began the second half with 3-pointers from Jordan Dartis and with two from Antonio Campbell to go up 46-30. It was an important stretch for an Ohio team that came out of the locker room focused on both ends of the floor. A Toledo timeout did little to slow the 'Cats as Ohio scored several times before Toledo ended a 15-0 run with a Zach Garber layup.

Can someone quietly steal the show? It feels as if Simmons did just that. Simmons tallied 8 assists in the first and 9 in the second, that's right, a Stockton-esque 17 on the evening. He finished with 12 points for the point guard's double-double while playing the entirety of the game.

The Rockets competed the whole night despite being easily outshot by a margin of 54.7-40.6. That can be attested to Toledo turning Ohio over more and grabbing more offensive boards.

Nathan Boothe and Jonathan Williams both posted a 21-point night.

The win was essential for the MAC East hopes of this Ohio team that moved to 12-7 (3-4 in MAC). Toledo now sports a 12-8 record (3-4 in MAC).