Ohio advances to MAC championship

CLEVELAND (AP) – D.J. Cooper scored 21 points with 10 assists to lead defending champion Ohio to a 74-63 win over Western Michigan in the semifinals of the Mid-American Conference tournament on Friday night.

The Bobcats (24-8) will play top-seeded Akron in Saturday’s championship for the league’s automatic bid to the NCAA tournament. The Zips (25-6) advanced with a win over Kent State.

Last year, Ohio beat Akron for the MAC title, and the second-seeded Bobcats made a sweet run through the NCAAs before losing to North Carolina in the national quarterfinals.

Walter Offutt added 14 points and 11 rebounds for the Bobcats, who went 14-2 in conference play with both losses to Akron.

Nate Hutcheson and Darius Paul, the MAC’s top freshman this season, scored 16 apiece for the Broncos (20-12).