ATHENS, Ohio - The Ohio University men's basketball team is moving on to the CollegeInsider.com Tournament quarterfinals after rallying past Wright State, 56-54, on Saturday in second-round action inside the Convo.
The Bobcats, now 25-11, trailed by five points with five minutes to play, but outscored the Raiders 13-6 over the final stretch to hang on for their second straight two-point victory over a Horizon League opponent.
The win gives Ohio 25 victories on the season for just the third time in program history.
Junior guard Javarez Willis sizzled for Ohio in the victory, tying his career-high with 21 points while knocking down a career-best five 3-point field goals in six attempts (.833). Willis also grabbed four rebounds and made two steals in 30 minutes on the floor.
Despite foul trouble for much of the game, Bobcat freshman forward Antonio Campbell added eight points, five rebounds and two blocks, while Ohio sophomore forward Treg Setty added seven points and five rebounds in 23 minutes.
After posting just 20 points in the first half, the 'Cats notched a 36-point effort in the second half and shot 54.5 percent (12-22) in the stanza. The Green and White used a suffocating defense to limit the Raiders to just 32.2 percent (19-59) shooting, including a 5-of-18 mark (.278) from 3-point territory.
Ohio is now 20-2 when holding its opponent to 70 points or less and 15-1 when the 'Cats limit their foe to less than 40 percent shooting.
The Raiders jumped out to a 13-2 lead before Ohio raced back with a 7-0 run to move within four at the 8:47 mark of the first half. The Bobcats cut the WSU lead to one (19-18) after two triples from Willis and trailed by that margin (21-20) at the half. It marked Ohio's lowest-scoring output in a half this season.
The Bobcats picked up their offensive tempo in the second half and tied the score at 35-35 on a lay-in by senior T.J. Hall with 12:32 to go. A lay-in from Setty capped a 13-3 run that gave Ohio a five-point lead (43-38) with 8:29 to play, but Wright State responded with a 10-0 run to go back up five (48-43).
From there, the 'Cats cut it to one on a lay-in from Maurice Ndour and took a 51-50 lead after a clutch 3-pointer from Willis with 1:02 remaining. Two free throws from Setty put Ohio up five with 30 seconds to go, and the Bobcats withstood a late rally from the Raiders to hang on for the victory.
Della Valle leaves OSU
to play pro ball
Ohio State coach Thad Matta has announced that sophomore guard Amedeo Della Valle is leaving the team to play professional ball in Europe.
Della Valle, from Alba, Italy, notified the Buckeyes staff of his decision on Saturday.
Beloved by fans for his scraggly mop of curly hair, Della Valle was expected to be a valuable reserve next season.
Della Valle averaged 3.6 points a game over two seasons at Ohio State. He appeared in 48 career games, 33 last season as the Buckeyes went 25-10, losing in the second round of the NCAA tournament.