Jaylin Hunter Leads Ohio Men’s Basketball to 76-71 Win Over Ball State

Jaylin Hunter

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The Ohio men’s basketball team (9-7, 1-2 MAC) continued Mid-American Conference play on Tuesday evening, defeating the Ball State Cardinals (11-5, 2-1 MAC), 76-71, inside the Convocation Center. 

“It’s great to be back in front of home fans. The first two road games were tough ones,” said head coach Jeff Boals. “I think tonight we sustained their [Ball State’s] blow, got a double figure lead—it was a 10-point lead with 5:22 to go—and I thought the guys did a great job of ending the half with momentum.” 

Overall, Ohio shot 45 percent from the field, 47.6 percent from three and were 12-of-18 from the line, while Ball State shot 45.1 percent from the field, 34.8 percent from three and were 17-of-24 from the line. The Cardinals outrebounded the Bobcats, 35-32, while Ohio recorded nine steals in comparison the Ball State’s six. 

Individually, junior guard Jaylin Hunter (Manchester, Conn.) led the team with 23 points, going 5-for-6 from the field and 4-for-5 from three while graduate student forward Dwight Wilson III (Tallahassee, Fla.) scored 22 points, led the team in rebounds with 10 and was 9-for-15 from the field. 

After back-to-back bad pass turnovers by Ball State, Wilson III scored the first two points of the game with a layup. Ohio and Ball State entered the first media timeout tied, 5-5; the Cardinals scored coming out of the timeout, but back-to-back threes from sophomore forward AJ Clayton (Roseville, Ohio), who finished the game with 16 points, and Hunter gave the Bobcats an 11-9 lead. 

Ball State went on a 10-0 run, taking a 19-13 lead with 9:04 remaining in the first half. Heading out of the timeout, the Cardinals scored eight points before Wilson III scored a two-point jumper. Senior guard Miles Brown (Rochester, N.Y.) followed with a driving layup, cutting Ohio’s deficit to 10 points with 4:20 remaining in the half. The Bobcats went on an 9-0 run, highlighted by an alleyoop dunk by Clayton followed by a steal and layup by Miles Brown to cut Ball State’s lead to one point. A Cardinals’ layup with eight seconds left until halftime put the score at 29-26. 

At the half, Ohio shot 39.3 percent from the field, 44.4 from three and were 0-of-1 from the line, while Ball State shot 40.7 percent from the field, 28.6 from three and were 3-of-5 from the line. The Cardinals outrebounded the Bobcats, 21-15. 

Coming out of halftime, Ball State scored first, but the Bobcats were right behind them, scoring six points to the Cardinals eight in the first four minutes of play. Freshman guard AJ Brown (Orlando, Fla.) converted a steal to a layup followed by a good free throw, putting the score at 37-35 heading into the timeout. 

After two Ball State free throws, back-to-back threes from Hunter and Clayton gave the Bobcats a 41-39 lead with 14:48 left in the game. A free throw followed by a second-chance dunk extended Ohio’s lead to 44-39 heading into a timeout. 

The Bobcats maintained their lead, answering Ball State’s two free throws with and turnaround jumper with five points on their own, putting the score at 50-43 with 10:16 left in the game. After two free throws from Hunter, an Clayton three extended Ohio’s lead to 10 points. The Cardinals scored four points with two free throws and a layup, but a three-point jumper and a layup from Clayton put the score at 60-48 with 7:44 left in the game. 

Coming out of the timeout, the Cardinals went on a 11-5 run, cutting Ohio’s lead to six points. Ball State threatened to overtake the Bobcats, coming within four points of Ohio with less than two minutes remaining in the game. A Cardinals second-chance three-point jumper with 33 seconds left to play cut the Bobcats’ lead to two points, but a free throw by Hunter put the score at 74-71. 

Senior guard DeVon Baker (Dayton, Ohio) hit two free throws with 10 seconds in the game, solidifying Ohio’s 76-71 victory. 

Up next, the Bobcats return to action on Friday, Jan. 13 when they host Kent State. Tip-off is set for 6:30 p.m. ET and can be seen on CBSSN.


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