Juice Brown Scores Season-High 28 Points But Rockets Fall in OT at Ohio, 95-90
ATHENS, OH – Junior guard Julius Brown poured in a season-high 28 points and knocked down several critical shots in front of a national television audience and 9,173 fans at The Convo on Saturday afternoon. But that wasn’t enough for Toledo to turn away Ohio in a 95-90 (OT) Mid-American Conference defeat that ended the Rockets’ six-game win streak.
The defeat dropped UT’s overall record to 18-3 overall and 6-2 in league play, while Ohio improved to 16-5 overall and 6-2 in MAC contests.
Brown, who tied the score at 83-83 on a fadeaway jumper in the closing seconds of regulation and dished out seven assists, nearly sent the contest into double overtime, but his potential game-tying trey rimmed out with eight seconds to play. Ohio then broke free for a layup for the final basket of the game.
Joining Brown in double figures were junior forward J.D. Weatherspoon (16 pts., 8 reb.), freshman guard Jonathan Williams (14 pts.) and junior guard Justin Drummond (12 pts.).
Sophomore center Nathan Boothe tied Weatherspoon for the team rebounding lead with eight boards as the Bobcats enjoyed a slim 39-38 advantage on the glass.
Junior forward Maurice Ndour paced Ohio with 28 points and 12 rebounds, while junior guard Stevie Taylor tallied a career-high 23 points.
The back-and-forth affair featured 16 lead changes as well as 12 occasions when the score was tied.
The Rockets trailed 49-40 early in the second half before Drummond capped off a 12-0 spurt with three straight baskets. Ohio quickly answered though with back-to-back treys from seniors Nick Kellogg and Travis Wilkins to regain the lead, 56-54, with 13:02 to play.
Toledo appeared ready to seize control when Williams keyed an 11-0 burst that provided the Rockets a 69-58 cushion with nine minutes remaining. But that wasn’t the case as Wilkins responded with another three-pointer on Ohio’s next possession, and Kellogg buried two more bombs as UT’s lead dwindled to 69-67 in less than 90 seconds.
Drummond returned the favor with a three-pointer of his own along with two free throws to give the Rockets some breathing room, 74-67, at the 6:25 mark. The Bobcats wouldn’t go away quietly and proceeded to score nine straight points before Boothe ended the outburst to even the game, 76-76, with 3:23 on the clock.
Ohio senior forward Jon Smith scored the game’s next five points, and Brown and Taylor each hit two free throws to leave UT down, 83-78, with 50 seconds left. Senior forward Matt Smith then came up big for the Rockets on their next possession, knocking down a trey to make it a two-point game.
Toledo forced a turnover on Ohio’s next possession, and Brown sent the game into overtime with a fadeaway jumper.
A Williams’ trey provided UT an 86-85 lead early in the extra session, but Ohio would counter with an Ndour dunk with 3:52 to play. Brown put the Rockets back in front two minutes later, but Kellogg hit a pair of free throws to give the lead back to the Bobcats. Brown knocked down his final shot of the game for a 90-89 lead with 1:20 left, but Ndour broke free for a dunk to put the Bobcats back on top to stay. Brown was whistled for a five-second call on the ensuing possession, and Taylor hit a runner in the lane for a 93-90 advantage.
Toledo returns to action on Wednesday, Feb. 5 for its fourth-annual “Tie One On” game vs. Bowling Green. Tip-off time from Savage Arena is set for 7:00 p.m.