Nails were bitten as the seconds ticked away at The Convocation Center in Athens, Ohio, Sunday afternoon.
After heading into overtime, Ohio (3-5) pulled away from the Morehead State University Eagles (1-8) 79-72, thanks to a a strong showing from freshman Kiyanna Black.
Black posted seven points in the extra frame, including a three pointer to increase Ohio’s lead to four with 2:53 remaining on the clock. She added to the lead with a jump shot less than a minute later.
“KB, she is a lot like Shavon (Robinson),” said fellow freshman Lexie Baldwin. “There’s not much that she can’t do.”
Black led the team in points with 19. She entered halftime without registering a single point.
“KB came back out in the second half and did some special things,” said head coach Semeka Randall.
With Ohio leading by three at 68, Morehead State’s Terrice Robinson sunk a three point field goal to tie the game with six seconds remaining on the clock, Robinson finished the game with 39 points.
“I always say go-to players on teams are going to make plays. You can almost never shut down completely a go-to player, but you can always slow them down, contain them for a little bit,” said Shavon Robinson of Terrice Robinson. “Today I feel like she was just hot. She knew what to do, she was rolling and I mean just for us defensively, it’s just trying to do the best you can.”
Shavon Robinson tried to counter with a jump shot as the buzzer sounded, but missed and time expired with the game tied at 68.
The teams then headed into overtime, after a made free throw from Black broke the tie, Morehead State’s Casey Ryans put a layup into the basket to give the Eagles a short-lived and final lead in the contest. Lexie Baldwin broke the tie with free throws.
Black and Baldwin, both freshmen, led the show with a combined 33 points. It was just what Randall was waiting and hoping to see from the two young players.
“I have been on them nonstop because I know they have something special inside them. Oftentimes, they think that I am just picking on them, but this is why I’m picking on them because they can do this for our basketball team, but it’s hard making that commitment,” said Randall. “It’s a lot of work, but they have it in them, so when those days are tough, this is why I’m on them because they can step up and make these plays for our team.”
Baldwin recognizes the payoff that the coach’s push can have, “She’s very hard on us and it’s good that she is. For today’s effort, it really just paid off.”
Shavon Robinson, Ohio’s leader and true constant started strong for the Bobcats. With the game appearing to be a low-scoring affair, Robinson opened up the scoring with 16:12 remaining in the half. She went on to lead Ohio early in scoring, with 12 of the team’s 33 points in the first half. With 12:27, she sent a ball into the net from downtown to beat the shot clock for a big play.
“Shavon showed up in the first half and knocked some big shots down probably out of her characteristics, but when a player’s feeling it, you just let it rip and you let it go and she was having that moment,” said Randall.
The game was a team effort for Ohio, which, along with Robinson and Black, had multiple players step up and play instrumental roles in the win. Mariah Byard and Ashley Fowler excelled in the three-point range. In the first half, each went 2-3 on three point attempts. Baldwin had a career game. She had a high in points with 14 and tied her high in rebounds at nine.
“As we’re starting to build this, people are starting to show up and that’s really good as we move forward,” said Randall of her team.
Sunday’s victory was Ohio’s second consecutive win and the finale of the team’s longest home stand of the season.