Ohio guard Stevie Taylor made just one shot Saturday afternoon but it was the game-winner in the Bobcats’ 78-75 Mid-American Conference victory over visiting Kent State.
Taylor’s 3-pointer with 10 seconds to go in overtime gave Ohio a 76-75 lead and was the knockout punch to KSU, which had battled back from a 15-point deficit early in the second half to force the extra period.
“Credit Stevie Taylor,” Golden Flashes coach Rob Senderoff said. “He hit a big shot. I’m guessing it’s the biggest shot of his career. Great shot by him, great play by him.”
Senderoff told his players to stay with their man during a timeout just before Taylor’s shot, but sophomore Kris Brewer left Taylor open on the right wing when he went to help defend Ohio’s Walter Offutt after Chris Evans slipped.
“There was a timeout called and we wanted to not leave our men or give up a 3,” Senderoff said. “We messed it up. [It was] a mistake on our part to allow Stevie Taylor to get one. I’d rather he not get it off and have Offutt try to finish in traffic.”
Ohio’s win was the second in a row against KSU on a big shot in the final seconds. Ohio (18-6, 9-1 MAC) topped KSU (14-12, 5-7) in similar fashion Jan. 26 in Kent.
The Flashes committed a season-high 22 turnovers that led to 26 Ohio points.
Two of the turnovers were especially ill-timed. The Flashes threw the ball out of bounds at the end of regulation and then committed another turnover after Taylor’s shot that allowed Nick Kellogg to score an easy layup and seal the Bobcats’ victory.
“We are obviously disappointed because we played hard enough to win,” Senderoff said. “We just didn’t play quite good enough to win. Another one-possession game. We played as well as they did for 44 minutes and 45 seconds — sometimes that happens.”
The Flashes trailed 31-26 after a sloppy first half. The deficit grew to 15 points with 15:25 to go but the Flashes’ reserves sparked a 12-0 run that gave KSU new life.
“The reason they were up on us was because we played selfish basketball in the first half,” Flashes junior forward Darren Goodson said. “We came back later in the second half, played better and we were able to take it to overtime. But they were one possession better than us.”
Offutt led Ohio with 17 points and D.J. Cooper contributed 13 points before fouling out late in overtime. Cooper’s absence was the reason Taylor was in the game. Kellogg also added 12 points and Reggie Keely chipped in 10 points to round out double-figure scorers for the Bobcats.
Evans had his second consecutive double-double with 18 points and 14 rebounds to lead Kent State. Brewer finished with 14 points and a team-high six assists.
The Golden Flashes outrebounded Ohio 43-30.
Kent State has a week off before traveling to Chicago on Feb. 23 to face Loyola at 4 p.m. as part of the annual BracketBusters event.