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MAC Tournament 2017: Kaminski Late Jumper Gives Bobcats 67-66 Win Over Toledo

Ohio overcomes first half woes to beat Rockets.

NCAA Basketball: Ohio at Georgia Tech Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

The #2 seeded Ohio Bobcats suffered through a horrible first half, then caught fire and scored the first 12 points of the second half to come back and knock off the Toledo Rockets (#7) in quarterfinal action in the Mid-American Conference Tournament in Cleveland.

Senior forward Kenny Kaminski hit a short jumper with just seven seconds left to give the Bobcats the 67-66 victory. The Rockets had beaten the Bobcats in Athens earlier this season, 76-70 in there only meeting.

The Rockets used the inside duo of 6’ 9” Steve Taylor and 6’ 11” Luke Knapke to take a 37-29 lead at halftime. The Rockets shot 52 percent (13-25) in the opening stanza. The Bobcats on the other hand, were cold as ice in the first half, shooting just 2 of 13 from three-point, and never had the lead. Toledo had a lead as large as 15 points, before the Bobcats made a late run to close the half. The Bobcats were fortunate to only be down eight point at the half as badly as they shot the ball. The Rockets played most of the first half without starting senior guard Jordan Lauf, who went down with an injury.

The second half was quite the turnaround, as the Bobcats scored the first 12 points of the second half to take the lead. Meanwhile, the Rockets were suddenly struggling to put the ball in the basket. They went more than five minutes before scoring in the second half, and suddenly found themselves down 41-37.

Three point baskets by Kaminski, Gavin Block and Mike Laster pushed the Ohio lead to 50-42 with just over 10 minutes to play. But eventually, the Rockets managed to right the ship and Luaf returned from his injury to score ten straight Rocket points, including his layup that tied the game at 58-58 with five minutes left.

Ohio guard Jaaron Simmons then made a couple of clutch driving buckets, the last giving the Bobcats a 64-61 lead with under two minutes to play. The Rockets Nate Navigato would hit a three pointer to tie the game at 64-64 with just 45 seconds left. Toledo’s Jonathan Williams would make a steal on the ensuing possession and drive the length of the floor for a layup to give the Rockets the 66-64 lead.

Ohio’s Jason Carter would split a pair of free throws and the lead stood at 66-65, Toledo with 23 seconds left. The Bobcats then fouled Taylor, who missed the front end of the one-and-one for Toledo. The Bobcats then raced down court and got the go-ahead basket from Kaminski on a short jumper in the paint. The Rockets inbounded the ball with just seven seconds left and Williams got a decent shot off that bounced off the rim. Lauf got the rebound and made a desperation shot that didn’t go.

Ball game! Jaaron Simmons led the Bobcats in scoring with 22 points. Freshman Jason Carter had a big game for Ohio with 19 points and 12 rebounds. Williams led Toledo in scoring with 18 points.

Ohio, now 20-10, advances to the semifinals tomorrow night to take on the winner of the late game at The Q between Buffalo and Kent State.