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No. 7 Northern Illinois Huskies vs. No. 2 Ohio Bobcats men's basketball final: Bobcats trounce Huskies 79-62

Northern Illinois defense had no answer to Ohio's hot touch.

Kaleb Carter

Ohio bucked Thursday's trend of nail-biting finishes by stomping the Northern Illinois Huskies 79-62 behind a steady barrage of 3's and the impressive play of Antonio Campbell.

Campbell quickly took control early in the second half and finished the day with 21 points, 8 rebounds, and 5 blocks. By the end of the night every Ohio starter had netted 10+ points.

Kaminski finished by putting up 17 points, 15 of which came on triples.

"That's Kenny Kaminski for you.  He shoots the lights out of the ball, he does it every day in practice," Jaaron Simmons said in the postgame presser. If I see him open, I'm going to hit him no matter how deep he is, I've got confidence he's going to shoot it and make it."

Simmons added 16 himself and tallied 11 assists for the double double. Coach Saul Phillips was more interested in praising his star point guard than the MAC Player of the Year and the fact that he was arguably (in this writer's opinion was certainly) snubbed out of a first-team all conference selection.

"Look at what he did tonight.  He absolutely dominated the game, he's been doing it all darn year," Phillips said. "Listen, I don't care if you had to add an extra person on the team, there is no way he's not a first team All Conference player, no way, no chance, no."

That's about all it took. Ohio's defense held the Huskies to 37.9 percent from the floor in the first half and 36.1 percent overall.

Northern Illinois was led by Marshawn Wilson's 22-point effort. However, only one other Huskie found his way into double digits and that was Levi Bradley with 10.

The Bobcats hit 14 3-pointers in all.

As well as NIU responded to Ohio's offensive proficiency in the first half, the Huskies could hardly slow the Bobcats thereafter. The Huskies ultimately struggled to stop the high screen and roll, with Simmons consistently finding open shooters on the wing and Campbell on the block.

"We just couldn't find an answer for it tonight when in the regular season we did a better job of guarding the ball screening, helping in and closing out to the shooters," Travon Baker said.

Ohio had quick trigger fingers in the first half and didn't hesitate to let the 3-ball fly. Phillips' bunch nailed 8 of 18 treys in the first half.

The 'Cats took a 36-27 lead into the half thanks to the play of Antonio Campbell, Kenny Kaminski and Jaaron Simmons. Kaminski knocked down the first three triples he attempted, giving Ohio an early lift. He scored the first bucket of the second half. You guessed it. Another 3-pointer. A quickly energized Ohio team found itself up 48-31 just 2:58 into the half.

The 'Cats ran out to a lead as large as 24 in the second. The carnage was well received by the sizable Ohio contingent in Quicken Loans Arena.

Northern Illinois' season is unlikely to be over. The Huskies sit at 21-11 and if they want, they'll be involved in a postseason tournament.

"Hopefully someone to take notice of the 21 wins in this conference is special," Coach Mike Montgomery said. "You know, we haven't been to postseason play in 20 years, so we're waiting for that phone call and I know that our guys will be excited to play postseason basketball."

Ohio moves on to the semis.