Jordan Dartis put his onions on full display on his last shot of the night.
Working with 18 seconds on the shot clock, Ohio worked the possession down to the very end and still didn't have a good look. No matter, Jordan Dartis came through in a major way. Falling to his right from the right wing, Dartis splashed home an insane 3-pointer to put Ohio up three, which boosted the 'Cats to a 72-67 win.
"All I was thinking was oh no, I should have taken the timeout and then 'WHAP' (ball goes in)," Saul Phillips said.
Dartis does it again. This time with two men on him as the shot clock ran out. Ohio up 70-67. 24.5 remaining.pic.twitter.com/yBttZIpxNO— A. Corbin Bagford (@CoreyOrCorbin) March 22, 2016
Francis Alonso missed a shot at the rim, Campbell grabbed his 18th rebound. Two Simmons free throws made it comfortable. Finally, Campbell came down with his 19th rebound to secure the ballgame.
Dartis ended the evening with 14 points. Campbell put up a line of 17 points and 19 rebounds. Simmons went for 19 points and 8 assists. Treg Setty played an energetic first half where most of his contributions came into play and he ended the night with 12 points and 6 boards.
Ohio wasn't all there on the effort category early on or in what became quite the sloppy affair early in the second half. Things got chippy with around 12 minutes left in the half when uncalled whistles on both ends led to a tie up that brought tempers to a fever pitch. Diante Baldwin, who scored the first 6 points of the second half, splashed home a 3-pointer after all the ruckus to put the Spartans up 55-45. Kenny Kaminski answered with a deuce of his own, but Demetrius Troy came through when left open at the top of the key with a trey. Another bucket from Troy and big man RJ White had UNCG at a 15-point advantage. The UNC Greensboro interior was tough to crack for the game's first 33 minutes. Not to say Ohio wasn't scoring inside, the 'Cats just couldn't get overtop the Spartans.
Baldwin finished with 17 points and Marvin Smith tallied on 16 of his own.
It was never meant to be that easy for UNCG. Ohio picked things up after falling to 15 down. Suddenly spurred on by some unknown force, Campbell and Simmons accounted for the next 15 points. The leaders came through when it was needed. Simmons' 3-point bucket with 3:18 to go left the 'Cats behind just two. After a timeout and a miss from UNC Greensboro's Francis Alonso, Dartis hit the first of two clutch, dagger 3-balls.
The 65-64 advantage didn't last long. Asad Lamot dropped one in from right in front of his bench to put the Spartans up two. Coach Saul Phillips called a timeout. Two free throws by Campbell tied things back up at 67-67. Then, the madness with Dartis ensued.
"It's hard to keep energy up when you're a team that just shoots the heck out of the ball all year long from three...," said Phillips when referring to how slow the 'Cats started from distance. "You could see our intensity pick up as shots started to go in."
Of note: Jaaron Simmons now owns the MAC single-season record for assists with 271. He broke the record on early pass under the hoop to Antonio Campbell. Fitting. The distinction previously belonged to D.J .Cooper.
"I wouldn't be able to do that this season without my teammates making shots," Simmons said.
The 'Cats were able to escape with the win despite shooting just 5-20 from distance. Ohio grabbed 12 more boards than UNC Greensboro (42-30).