Ohio Bobcats lose in MAC Semifinals to Top-seeded Toledo Rockets, 82-75



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CLEVELAND, Ohio – Despite a career-high 27 points from junior guard Jaylin Hunter, the fifth-seeded Ohio men’s basketball team (19-14) concluded the 2022-23 season on Friday evening (March 10) in the Mid-American Conference Semifinals, falling to top-seeded Toledo (27-6), 82-75 inside Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse. 

Overall, Ohio shot 38.6 percent from the field, 33.3 percent from three and were 11-of-14 from the line, while Toledo shot 51.8 percent from the field, 35 percent from three and were 17-of-23 from the line. Ohio outrebounded Toledo, 43-29, while Ohio recorded eight steals.

Individually, Hunter (Manchester, Conn.) scored a career-high 27 points and hit a career-high seven threes. He went 9-of-18 from the field and grabbed six rebounds and had three steals. Senior guard DeVon Baker (Dayton, Ohio) scored 17 points, going 6-of-11 from the field and 2-of-3 from three, while freshman guard AJ Brown (Orlando, Fla.) added 13 points and seven rebounds, Graduate student forward Dwight Wilson III (Tallahassee, Fla.) concluded his Bobcat career with seven points and a team-high 11 boards. 

Toledo won the tip, but Ohio got on the board first with a layup from Hunter. After Toledo tied the game back up at 2-2, back-to-back threes from Hunter put Ohio up 8-4. Toledo then hit a layup and a three to put the Rockets up 9-8 going into the first media timeout. After Toledo took an 11-8 lead, layups from Wilson III and Baker put the Bobcats back up. However, five-straight points from the Rockets put Toledo back up 16-12 with 11:04 remaining in the game. Out of the timeout, despite a few good looks, Ohio was unable to capitalize offensively, allowing the Rockets to take a 21-12 lead, forcing the Bobcats to burn a 30-second timeout with 9:35 remaining in the half. The Bobcats were able to get a free throw from Wilson III and a layup from freshman guard Elmore James (Cleveland, Ohio) out of the timeout, cutting the UT lead to 23-15 with 7:16 remaining.

Out of the timeout, Toledo went up 10, however, two free throws from Baker, a steal and a dunk from Hunter and back-to-back threes from Hunter and AJ Brown, cut the Toledo lead to 30-25 going into the final media timeout of the half. After a layup from senior guard Miles Brown (Rochester, N.Y.) cut the Ohio deficit to three, a 5-0 run from Toledo put the Rockets back up eight. However, a jumper from Baker and a steal and a dunk from AJ Brown, brought the Bobcats back withing four. However, a layup from the Rockets at the end of the half, gave the Rockets the 37-31 lead going onto halftime. 

At the half, Ohio sot 35.5 percent from the field, 23.5 percent from three and were 3-of-4 from the line, while Toledo shot 51.6 percent from the field, 35.7 percent from three and did not attempt a free throw. Ohio outrebounded UT, 23-14, while Ohio also forced eight turnovers, scoring six points off them. 

Individually, Hunter led with 13 points and four rebounds, while Baker added six points and AJ Brown added five points and three rebounds.

Ohio opened the second half with a three from Hunter and a layup from Wilson III to cut the UT lead to one After Toledo matched it with a three and a layup of their own, a jumper from AJ Brown another three from Hunter cut the Toledo lead to 42-41 going into the first media timeout of the half. After Toledo took a 49-41 lead, a three from Baker stopped the run, however, the rockets responded with a jumper of their own, taking a 51-44 lead going into the under-12 media timeout. 

Out of the timeout, the Bobcats were able to cut the Toledo lead to four, however, four-straight points from the Rockets put Toledo back up eight with 9:27 remaining in the game. After the Rockets went up 10, a layup and a three cut the Ohio deficit to five, before a jumper from Toledo put the Rockets up 60-53 with 7:02 remaining in the game. Over the next few minutes, a three from Hunter cut the Ohio deficit to six, before Toledo went up 71-62. After another three from Baker brought the Bobcats back within six, Toledo responded with a jumper to take a 73-65 lead with 1:26 remaining. 

The Bobcats’ offense kept battling, however Toledo hit a few free throws down the stretch and Ohio was unable to rally the whole way back, falling 82-75. 

For Toledo, RayJ Dennis led with 28 points, while Dante Maddox, Jr. finished with 20.